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, 28 June 2009

Bled to death.

Holy shit. There's really not much else to be said when you read that UK benefits payments now exceed income tax revenue, other than when the fuck are the countries leaders (including wannabees) going to fucking wake up?

H/T Old Holborn.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Didn't take long.

From The Australian:

Friday, 26 June 2009


What do I say? Bye Jacko, you baby-dangling, semi plastic, fucking freak show. Look, it's a bit sad and fifty is no age, but I didn't know the guy and I wasn't a fan. Yet I've a horrible feeling that the media is going into Diana mode and there'll be tributes ad nauseam for days. Why do we have to do this with celebs every time one carks it? Let their families and friends mourn them and let's the rest of us avoid the media driven pretence of grief that we seem to be expected to participate in. The guy was a good entertainer, if a bit of a nutter about the plastic surgery, and he died unreasonably young.

On a side note I give it until Sunday afternoon before I hear the first Jacko joke.

UPDATE: Not a joke but still amusing. Fans are gathering at the hospital and laying tributes on his Hollywood star - except it's not his star but that of a radio presenter called Michael Jackson. The baby-dangler's star is covered up at the moment by temporary structures for the Bruno premiere, though if the fans really felt that had to show their love for someone who they'd never met there's apparently nothing to stop them going to the star for The Jacksons. Alternatively, and this may seem a bit off the wall (see what I did there?) they could all fuck off and get lives. Meanwhile the TV companies have leapt on the bandwagon. First aboard here is Network Ten who've quickly rearranged their schedule for this. Do they get some sort of prize for being first with a tedious tribute program or what?

UPDATE: You can always rely on The Daily Mash.
MICHAEL Jackson, the King of Pop, shocked the world last night by dying in an incredibly ordinary way.
His millions of fans were stunned after the singer died of a very normal heart attack instead of electrocuting himself while re-enacting scenes from The Wizard of Oz with a cast of under-age giraffes.
The heart, Jackson's last original body part, was due to perform in London next month where it was expected to pump blood to a pair of new legs, a borrowed arm and the 14th version of the singer's face.
Uri Geller, Jackson's friend and now acting King of the Freaks, said: "I feel so desperately sorry for all the freaks today. He was their Diana, their Elvis, their Mother Theresa and their Jade Goody all rolled into one. Which is actually what he looked like too. Check out this spoon."
Meanwhile at Madame Tussauds wax museum, security guards are standing by to prevent visitors poking the Michael Jackson statue amid rumours the singer had finally found the perfect hiding place.


I wasn't going to do ute-gate, I really wasn't. But since it now seems that Malcolm Turnbull was advised not to use the leaked email as a weapon to hit Kevin Rudd with, but went ahead anyway because of his desire to bring down the PM, it bears comment. For those with an even shakier grasp of Australian politics this would be like Cameron in the early days of the British MPs' expenses scandal ripping Gordon Brown a new one, only to find out that The Telegraph had bought fake records and all the Labour MPs' claims were modest and reasonable after all. So my comment is this:

You certainly shut your balls in the drawer there, didn't you, Malcolm? What a complete twat!

Friday night footy means no blogging later. Christ, I think I'm turning slowly into an Australian. Help!

Formula One.

I'd started doing a long blog about Formula One, how the fight between the teams and the FIA in the person of Max Mosley had overshadowed the recent British Grand Prix, how eight of the ten teams had threatened to desert F1 altogether an set up their own series, how many surveys of and comment by fans suggested that most of the support was with the teams, how there were threats and counter threats of legal action, how the teams had actually put some serious money on the table as a forfeit to the others should one fail to stick it out, how Mosley's years of micro management and constant tinkering with the sport's rules had not only helped bring things to this point but actually worked against his goal of cost cutting (you need a bigger budget to adapt to changes in the technical regulations every fucking season), and as a side issue how much Bernie Ecclestone, the sport's promoter, pissed me off with his anti-Silverstone bias and his demands for funding for the British Grand Prix from the government. That last point is a sore one with me since as a fan I'd like to see super modern facilities at Silverstone as much as he wants them, but as a Victorian taxpayer and a libertarian I strongly object to forking out for the Melbourne Grand Prix which enjoys the sort of government support, i.e. taxpayers' money, that Ecclestone wants from the British government. $40 million last I heard, and even if it got that much back, which it doesn't, why the fuck should the state government fund a motor race? If it's worth having then let private companies chip in. If it's not worth having let it go elsewhere instead of Victorians coughing up for Bernie Ecclestone's divorce or whatever. Even if it made a profit it'd be wrong. If John Brumby, the state Premier, was the world's best poker player we wouldn't let him go down the casino with 40 million of our dollars.*

The short version is that I'm another fan who hold Mosley mostly responsible and would like to see the back of him, and preferably Bernie 'Subsidize Me' Ecclestone as well if possible. I'm no longer going to bother with the long version because yesterday it became irrelevant. The teams got their way and Max Mosley is out on his arse, which is almost the same thing once you get past the technical aspects of many of the teams' complaints. The good news is that the sport won't split, which even though I'd have followed whatever racing the rebel teams were doing would probably not have been good for anyone really. The bad news is that Ringmaster Ecclestone is still around and still controls what races are when and where, and at what cost. He is partly responsible for the cost escalation that has been such a bone of contention by ensuring that races are so fucking expensive to host that the majority are now done with government support, and while the teams bitch that not as much of that money comes their way as would be fair the point is that when governments (who like to think they have very deep pockets for vanity projects like F1 races, when in fact the pockets are not theirs at all but those of the taxpayers) are involved a lot of money inevitably flows into the sport. Mosley's mistake was to think that teams would spend themselves into bankruptcy and the sport would end up with so few teams that it would look ridiculous. Ecclestone's mistake, if you could call it that, is to want so much money coming in that the sport needs governments to survive. Mosley trying to drive costs down and Ecclestone working to drive income up. Nobody was working on the obvious - to let income and expenditure find their own natural levels without the sport clamping its lips to every unoccupied government tit it could find.

One down, one to go.

*It should be said that John Brumby didn't bring the Grand Prix to Melbourne and sign us all up to the ongoing cost of subsidizing the bloody thing, though he did recently renew it till 2015. The guy responsible was apparently Jeff Kennett, Premier from 1992 to 1999, and long since fucked off to be Chairman of Hawthorne Hawks football club. This is why, when told I had to pick an Aussie Rules team to support if I wanted to live among Melbournians, I decided it would be anyone buy fucking Hawthorne. Incidentally, Kennett was a Liberal and Brumby is in the Australian Labour Party, and the fact that both have offered our financial support to the Melbourne Grand Prix shows that in Australia, as in the UK, both parties are largely the bloody same.

Drug taking is taking off...

... among wallabies. Yes, seriously. Tasmania grows a lot of poppies for the legal production of morphine, and wallabies are coming into the fields, getting off their loveable little furry dials and falling over. The interesting bit is that according to another report
They seem to know when they've had enough. They'll still be around and they would leave them alone.
Nobody is panicking that the wallabies are going to become junkies and there's this evidence that they get regulate their use, if we can call it that. I remember Skippy and I don't accept that they're that bright, so if a dumb animal will get stoned and is then prepared to lay off for a while why is there a presumption that humans can't? There's overwhelming evidence that some people can't and fall into a cycle of abuse, yet at the same time I've personally known people who tried almost everything (and last I heard still liked to get high now and again) but never formed an actual habit. Meantime I'd like to show you what a wasted wallaby looks like but there aren't any pictures. Google it and turn the monitor on it's side, you'll probably not be too far off. Oh, and The Spoof have this.

Just in case you were wondering...

... Australia is not above a little official corruption and shit excuses. No, not Kevin RTudd and bloody ute-gate (AAARRGH, why do they have to stick 'gate' on the end? Why did I for that matter?), which is really more interesting because of the desperation shown by the Liberals to use it to bash Rudd with and the even greater, not to say hilarious, desperation with which they're back pedalling ever since it turned out that it's all largely based on a fake email. Check the link if you really must and you don't already know.

No, I'm talking about the Chief Exec of Sydney Ferries, which is owned by the New South Wales government, putting nearly a quarter of a million dollars of personal expenses on his corporate (i.e. taxpayer funded) credit card. Even his son has had a share.
THE son of former Sydney Ferries chief executive Rear Admiral Geoff Smith took his father's corporate credit card to schoolies celebrations on the Gold Coast where he racked up nearly $7000 worth of expenses, an ICAC inquiry has heard.

Sydney Ferries manager of financial accounting Mabel Misra yesterday told the inquiry that Admiral Smith had told her his son took the card to the infamous end-of-school festivities in 2006.

"(Admiral Smith) indicated to me that his son had accidentally taken his credit card and he had gone for Schoolies, I think to the Gold Coast, and he couldn't get in touch with him or -- or there was some issue that he couldn't retrieve the card back immediately and he had incurred some personal expenditure on the card," Ms Misra said.

Despite a promise he would reimburse the expenses "immediately", a cheque written for $6868 to cover the expenses bounced, she said.

The former rear admiral in the Royal Australian Navy is before an ICAC hearing over his use of the Sydney Ferries corporate credit card with which he allegedly spent $237,000 on personal expenses.


It is alleged Admiral Smith spent the money on restaurants, hotels, overseas travel and private school fees.
And his excuse? You're going to fucking love this. According to The Australian Libertarian Society's blog nobody told Admiral Smith that he shouldn't do it. Sound at all familiar? The lack of thought gone into whether it was right rather than merely allowed. The immediate attempt to blame someone or something else, the anonymous person or persons who he feels should have told him not to abuse the credit car, once he'd been found out and the shit was hitting the fan. Is it me or could he fit right in at whatever drinking clubs the serial troughing cunts of Westminster like to prop up? I mean, private schools? Christ alive, I don't think even British politicians have tried that one. I can hear the sounds of Aussies singing Anything you can do we can do better... as if it would somehow make up for being beaten by the poms in Beijing.


Well, one other very important way in which Australia has done better than Britain on such a huge expenses piss take. The NSW Transport Minister has sacked the bugger.

Can Gordon Brown listen after all?

Maybe he can, because the pay-as-you-drive road pricing scheme has been shelved. Costs or popularity? What do you reckon? And if by some miracle it's because of the Downing Street web petition does that mean he'll take notice of the other one and fuck off?

Rage and bravery.

I wonder how angry this woman must have been to be this brave. I wonder if, despite my ranting and swearing at what are relatively small injustices in comparison to what Iranians have gone through, I will ever be angry enough to have done what she has done. I very much hope that this is Iran's Tiananmen moment, a gesture of unarmed defiance against tyranny that forms an image the world remembers for decades, perhaps forever, though I also hope it leads to much more much faster than in China. But even more I hope that this wonderful brave woman hasn't suffered the same fate as Neda Agha-Soltan, or indeed the nameless Chinese student who stood silently and defied a column of tanks, and may have been killed for it. The tree of liberty may need watering with blood from time to time, but while we should always hope for liberty we should also hope that the tree doesn't need blood today.

UPDATE: The thought's just occurred to me while leaving a comment at Shibby's that it might have been something other than bravery or rage. I'm sure they were both part of it, but maybe she'd just reached the point that without freedom or democracy or whatever it was that was driving her she simply didn't give a flying fuck anymore.

UPDATE 2: Looks like it's been Pshopped for a Western audience. I thought it looked genuine because of reflections in the metal above the car's rad grille, and it seems I was right about that. But the gesture has apparently been changed.

H/T Shibby.

The best quote of the day.

At Bishop Hill's. Priceless.

Alcohol free zones.

One of the things that annoys me a little bit about Australia is the use of alcohol free zones. I'm really not a big drinker and I've never actually wanted to drink any time I've been in an alcohol free zone, but nonetheless it annoys me that they say I must not drink if I did want to. The reason it annoys me is that it struck me that alcohol free zones probably come about for one of two reasons. First is that in remote parts of Australia they've got some areas with serious rates of alcohol abuse among indigenous Australians, and so the paternalistic, if not borderline racist, approach is simply to ban alcohol. If you're an aborigine who likes the occasional beer, or anyone else for that matter, tough. But be comforted by the knowledge that the ban is there for your protection even if you're responsible and have no need of it. The second problem is one that the UK is familiar with, that of people out on the lash not knowing when to stop and being a drunken pains in the arse. In this case a ban is there because... well, frankly I'm not sure. I don't know what Australian police forces used to do but English ones used to deal with people who were too pissed and causing trouble simply by nicking them and letting 'em sober up in the cells overnight. I'm sure this still happens a lot, but I've been out on Friday and Saturday nights in England and from what I've personally seen it seems that you've got to work quite hard to get arrested. Well, I'm not a copper and it's probably not for me to say whether the softly softly approach is better than rounding up the pissheads and locking them up for the night. What I can say is that restricting the freedom of the majority because of the misbehaviour of a few just because it's easier for the authorities is never satisfactory.

And because this annoys me about Australia I was disappointed, though far from fucking surprised, to read that the UK now has over 700 alcohol free zones and is adding more at the rate of about 100 per year. And what really infuriates me is the way the law, the police and the councils are going about it (my bold):
Once a control zone is in place, police can seize alcohol from anyone who is not on licensed premises, even if the bottles or cans are unopened.
Got that? So you might simply be carrying some beer between your house and your mate's where you intend to have a few drinks while watching the game on TV, but despite only intending to drink the beer in private it's liable to be confiscated if you need to walk through an alcohol free zone. If your house is actually in an alcohol free zone you might even be fucked carrying it from the boot of the car to your own doorstep. In fact, private houses aren't licensed either. Can they...? No, surely not. There must be an exception for private homes that The Times hasn't mentioned in the article. Mustn't there?
Although drinking is not banned in the zones, police can ask anyone to stop drinking and it is an offence to refuse, punishable by a maximum £500 fine. No explanation or suspicion that the person could be a public nuisance is required. The highest fine will soon rise to £2,500.
In other words there are no fixed goalposts, no line which you can learn about and stay on the right side of, it's all up to whichever cop you happen to encounter. "Looking at me in a funny way" and "walking around with an offensive wife" might not get you arrested Constable Savage style but it might well get your booze taken away, and they don't have to tell you why they're doing it. Okay, it's not Fingermen style police state stuff, but I'd say it's very much in keeping with the "soft police state" that Britain has become.
Laws giving local authorities the power to set up the zones, or “designated public place orders”, were introduced in 2001 at the height of government concern over public drunkenness. The law made clear that the zones should cover only streets or city centre areas with a record of alcohol-related disorder or nuisance.

There are now 712 zones, some covering vast areas where there is no record of disorder. There are city-wide bans in Coventry and Brighton, which cover even the quietest suburban streets. Birmingham tried to introduce a city-wide ban but had to back down in the face of public opposition. Instead it is introducing the drinking zones gradually across the city.
Another example, if one were needed, of the way a law is brought in with one intention, but how it doesn't take long before its use becomes more widespread or even extended to include uses that were never originally intended*.
Research on the zones has been conducted by The Manifesto Club, a campaign group that challenges what it sees as excessive regulation.

It found that police are routinely ignoring Home Office guidelines and confiscating bottles of wine and beer from peaceful picnickers and other adults having a quiet drink outdoors.
Well, it's a lot fucking easier than trying to get the booze off a violent drunk. And since that probably entails getting the booze out of the violent drunk half the time there's also the risk of puke all over the uniform that's easily avoided by bullying some middle aged accountant and his family off their bottle of Pinot Gris instead. Still, nice to know there are some fucking guidelines, even if that's all they are and if they're pretty meaningless if the police do indeed have no need to justify confiscation of alcohol.
In some cases, drinks have allegedly been seized by police from adults who have just bought them from an off licence and are on their way home.
I saw that coming by the third paragraph, didn't I? And here's how it happens:
Dan Travis was leaving an off-licence in Brighton at 7pm with two cans of Kronenberg in his hand when two community support officers asked him to stop ...
Ah, yes, PCSOs, the plastic plods. We all know they'd never get too big for their boots, but see here for an example of a PCSO getting too big for his boots. Okay, sarcasm aside, I'm prepared to believe that most are okay and not simply failed police wannabees with humungous fucking chips on each shoulder (which probably makes hiding their numbers easier), but come on - bad enough to be an innocent drinker harming nobody and have your booze confiscated by a real copper, but having it taken by a plastic plod is really dripping piss into the wound.
“They asked me if I knew about alcohol restriction zones and I said I didn’t,” said Mr Travis, a tennis coach. “They said, ‘We have to stop people who we think are drinking, not just drunk’. I pointed out that the cans were not even open, and they said that didn’t matter because they thought I was going to drink them in a public place. They asked me to pour it down the drain.”
What. A. Pair. Of. Bastards.

Okay, so we've established that it's not actually illegal to drink in the zones, but that even a PCSO - not actually a real cop for the benefit of any Aussies who may happen to read this - who merely thinks that someone with alcohol, even someone behaving reasonably, responsibly and FUCKING LEGALLY, might open one up and drink it - not actually illegal, remember - can order the booze to be tipped into the drain. No need to prove a fucking thing, and no need for an actual crime to have been committed.

What a fabulous bit of law for the police state. What a wonderful precedent to have set. Bad enough that you're so prone to being done for a victimless crime in Britain now, but they had to go and come up with the fucking bright idea of a crimeless crime - or at least a crimeless punishment. I can just imagine what's coming...

"Hey, you, get out of the BMW, it's being confiscated because we think you might drive a bit fast on the way home. Not necessarily over the limit, but a bit on the quick side, know what we mean? So we're having it, just to be sure. What's that? You were going to get a cab anyway? Well, they all tell us that. Sorry, but we still think you might drive it and might have a little lead in your boot. Go to the pound with 200 quid and you can collect it, only if you take our advice you'll leave it till Wednesday. The Sarge likes to get people coming out of the pound and he's off Wednesday. Now let's have the keys, sir. Mind how you go."

Ridiculous? I fucking hope so, but in principle how's it different from taking confiscating alcohol from someone who's not drunk, who has done nothing wrong and hasn't even opened it, all because a copper or plastic plod thinks - thinks! - that they might drink it. Well, fuck, I might buy a load of fertilizer and diesel to mix together, which could be a fucking sight worse than the wanton possession of an unopened sixpack. Yet while I'm sure the police are keeping an eye out for anyone buying tons of fertilizer and thousands of litres of DERV (and not having either a farm or a lot of agricultural plant or any other plausible reason for wanting the stuff**) I doubt Britain's finest have staked out garden centres and filling stations up and down the country to harass anyone with a vegetable patch and/or a diesel engined car. But they will more or less do something similar to drinkers. Welcome to police state Britain.

* The paranoid might suggest that quite often it fucking well is intended, it's just not spoken of publicly.
**Not that having a plausible reason should become a requirement to buy or anything. Just that a farmer with a couple of dozen fields buying enough fertilzer to use on, say, give or take 24 fields and enough diesel to plough and sow somewhere between, ooooh let's say 20 and 30 fields, probably isn't a cause for concern.

Kirklees council again.

The people who brought you What Not To Wear (Deceased Edition) are now making a job offer you can't understand.
The ideal candidate must have "cross-functional experience" and play a "key role in ensuring the effective integration of national, regional and local drivers", the Kirklees Council advert states.
It continues: "The new director of organisation development will face a number of challenges, including making sure: That the diversity of Kirklees is understood by all in the organisation; is valued as a strength but a strength that challenges us to respond to its complex implications; and is reflected in the career structures within the organisation."
It's for £119,000 by the way, and if what they're asking for made sense then you're either worth every penny or as mad as they are.
Cliff Stewart, human resources director at the council, justified the language used in the advert.
He said: "The terms used in the advert will mean a lot to the sort of people who are looking at this."
Really? Then why did you change the wording then? Because The Yorkshire Post has the story too, and they've helpfully provided a link to the advert. It now reads:
"Exceptional professional required to place communities at the heart of our services"

This newly created position brings together responsibilities for organisation development and corporate governance across the council and its delivery partnerships. It is a key leadership role that will help make a complex organisation increasingly confident, energetic and focussed as it delivers the outcomes that the Kirklees communities require.

One of the key challenges of this role is to deliver these outcomes in ways that gain the maximum impact from the resources available over the next five years.

You will play a key role in ensuring the effective integration of national, regional and local drivers. You will lead the development of partnerships and take responsibility for our change, innovation and communication programmes. You will also have responsibility for a broad range of corporate services.

If you are a leader with presence, passion and panache with experience across a range of these responsibilities, and if you are enthusiastic about this opportunity to join a top quality and ambitious leadership team, then let's talk.

Currently the make-up of the Council's management team does not reflect the diversity of the citizens of Kirklees with certain groups under-represented. We would welcome applications from all individuals, but in particular, we would welcome applications which will help us address this under-representation.
So what happened to the all important need for cross functional experience then? What about the challenge of making sure that the diversity of Kirklees is understood by all, and that it's not just valued as a strength but also one that challenges... er, hang on, challenge to make the diversity understood as a strength which comes with challenges or something, wasn't it? Whatever, Kirklees Council, it seems that you responded to the criticism by robustly defending of the wording followed by quietly changing it. Have the courage of your convictions you worthless bastards! And learn to fucking write, because the edited version is still a load of PC bollocks. You still aren't making clear what the fuck a Director Of Organisation Development is or what the person in this newly created position is supposed to do all day. Other than soak up over a hundred grand from council tax revenue of course. Yes, I read the bullshit job description but what exactly are the duties? Who does the DoOD dude (ha!) report to? Who reports to the DoOD? Apart from something vague about drivers (glorified fleet manager?) there's fuck all real information there, just a load of padding. Frankly it looks like the sort of vague bullshit I'd use at school to put in essays on stuff I wasn't remotely interested in.

An alternative option for this recently Conservative controlled (and therefore in my opinion inclined to spunk away tax money on shite) and now Liberal/Labour coalition run (and therefore in my opinion also inclined to spunk away tax money on shite) council would have been to knock a quid or two off everybody's council tax, and since this is a newly created Director position there's an implication that the spendthrift cunts have in fact created a whole new fucking department for it. If so then there's probably much more than a couple of quid to be saved.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Canterbury is gay enough.

About six weeks or so ago I blogged about a number of annoying pricks wanting the world to work for them in the way they want, including a gay pressure group in Canterbury who thought the town wasn't sufficiently gay friendly.
Also needing a lesson in personal responsibilities and liberties is a gay rights pressure group called Pride in Canterbury, who complain that the town isn't gay enough. This is apparently because it doesn't have a homosexuals' community centre, dared to show a play in which a homosexual character was depicted in a stereotypical way, and lacks a gay bar. Oh for fuck's sake. Look, this doesn't take the fucking wisdom of Solomon to sort out. Buy some land there and build a community centre for homosexuals if it's important to you, though if you ask me any "community" centre that is for one section of the community just makes that group look insular and selfish. My 2c, that's all. And if the play bothers you the obvious thing is to boycott the bloody thing. It won't close the play but just like the off switch on your TV it's easy to avoid being offended if you want to. In fact you'd have to be actively seeking to be offended to buy a ticket for a play that you know in advance has got something in it that you don't like, but of course professional offence takers do that sort of thing all the time. Look, it's not all about you, okay? There's nothing written down anywhere that says gays or anyone else have the right to not be offended. I get offended by stuff all the fucking time, including people who try to impose their views, values or demands on other people by running off to courts and ombudsmen, but I'm not crying into my beer about it. I have no right to for one thing, and I can harmlessly blog about how much it annoys me instead. As for the gay bar or lack thereof, again why don't they fucking open one themselves if they think it's such a good idea? If there's a market for one there could be some money in it, so what's stopping them? I think the thing here is that they're not demanding the right to open a gay bar since clearly that's a right they already have, and quite right too, but the right to have someone do it for them. That's where I fall firmly on the fuck off side of the fence.
Well, hoofuckingray, it turns out Canterbury is gay enough after all.
Rob Davies, spokesman for the council, said: "Obviously we're delighted with the outcome of the investigation.
"We feel we do a great deal for the gay community in Canterbury and we have always tried to support various gay events and promotions."
"But at the same time it is not the duty of any council to set up a gay bar – that's not what councils do."
Exactly, and although I'm sure there's plenty that the council are doing that isn't really the duty of any council I'm glad someone's spelt it out for the benefit of Pride in Canterbury. Not that the fucknuts are getting the message:
" We do not believe the council want a thriving LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community in our city. The impression I get is that the council just doesn't want to know."
Oh, grow a fucking head. Have they said that you may not have a gay bar? No. All they've said is that it's not their role to start one. As I said before, if you're that sure the market's there for it then get the money together and fucking start a gay bar up yourselves instead of whining that it's not being done for you with taxpayers' money. Or fuck off to where there are already gay bars. I don't care which and neither should anyone in Canterbury, providing you're not asking for other people's money to fund it.

I feel like hunting.

And the reason why? This:
Sir Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney are leading the Meat Free Monday campaign to persuade people to avoid meat once a week. It is not an attempt to turn the world vegetarian, one day at a time...
Which I believed for about a picosecond...
...but a crucial step in the fight against climate change.
What a load of utter shit. Aside from the fact that the world's been cooling for a fucking decade now, and aside from the fact that CO2 levels have been far higher in the past while temperatures have simultaneously been lower, and aside from the chronic lack of reliability in the computer models which are being used to predict sorry, no, I mean project sorry, they're not using that one anymore either, I mean make stuff up scenarios, and aside from the colossal amount of green industry* bullshit being flung around to promote their agenda, a call to give up meat for one day a week seems suspiciously like another quasi-religious penance exercise designed to make you feel good about sacrifice and guilty about having a Sunday roast. Doubly so when it comes from, oooooh, the fucking President of the fucking Vegetarian Society.
The family is famously vegetarian, but Stella says for this particular debate, she wishes they weren’t. This is not an evangelical mission to make the world veggie but an attempt to do their bit to slow climate change. "It’s an environmental conversation, not a vegetarian one," says Stella. "It’s ok to just give up meat for one day, it doesn’t make you a vegetarian if you hate vegetarians, it doesn’t make you a cranky, hemp wearing pot smoker."
Yeah, good luck with that. Climate has been changing for over 4 billion years, and it does it at it's own pace. If you think one day a week of green salads is going to make any fucking difference - and I'm talking here about something you can see on a fucking thermometer - you probably are a hemp wearing pot smoker.
The campaign has some weighty research behind it, not least from the UN.
The UN? Well why the fuck didn't you say so to begin with. That's me converted.


This, I imagine, refers to the UN's Intergovernmental (and the G bit of that doesn't make for a promising start in my book) Panel on Climate Change, a body apparently intent on pushing an agenda on behalf of governments that want to tax and industries that want government subsidies, and therefore a body that I'd no more trust for impartial advice than I would an oil executive.
[Paul said,] "The UN, who are our appointed global watchdog...
Nope. Stop right there. SELF appointed global watchdog, if you don't mind. Carry on.
"...said 'hey, cattle rearing is more harmful than ALL transport.' That is the statistic I thought was shocking because until then I thought it was aeropolanes, cars and trucks…"
According to the report, livestock are responsible for 18 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, which is indeed a bigger share than that of transport which accounts for 13 per cent.
Well that just shows what a cock you are, doesn't it? You swallowed any old shit about cars and planes that was fed to you. Had you had a bit of curiosity you could have found out for yourself, just like I did years ago. Google is your friend, Paul. You might also have found out that construction is bigger than either of those. In fact at (going from memory**) 35-40% it's bigger than the two of them put together. Doesn't really support the one day vegetabalism that you're pushing though, does it? No, so why don't you ask every seventh family in the industrialised world to live in a mudhut instead? It'd achieve more (by your AGW based arguments that is - I'd expect to see fuck all difference), but of course neither you nor anyone else is actually suggesting it. You, I suspect because even if you've troubled yourself to find that out, which I'm not too optimistic about, it doesn't fit your anti-meat agenda. And everybody who already is aware of it because they know they'll be told to fuck off. Hence the promotion of feel good bullshit like Earth Hour and Monday vegetabalism.

It will, as I said above, achieve fuck all that you can see on a thermometer, but it's about changing people rather climate anyway. McCartney is a useful fool, an incredibly famous name with an (to me, inexplicably) large following across the world, who was guaranfuckingteed to leap aboard the bandwagon and get on message as soon as someone said global warming would be helped if people stopped eating meat. The response must have been fucking Pavlovian. Save the world by going veggie? He must have been priapic. I don't think it will last though. The Beatles/Wings?McCartney fans I know are not only all meat eaters but would cheerfully eat the face off a kitten if it was that or being hungry. On a side issue I'll be fucked by polar bears before I take eco-advice from some self righteous wanker whose enviro-hybrid pretentious twatwagon arrived on a plane from fucking Japan.

So for all those reasons I feel like hunting***. Because it would be nice to tuck into a delicious plate of grilled Skippy that I shot in the face over the weekend. And because it would, I very much hope, make Paul McCartney cry.

* Green industry? No, no, no, no, surely not. Industry are the bad guys who employ dodgy scientists as shills in order to justify digging up more coal and oil, right? Oh bollocks! The people who make wind turbines, wave and tidal generators, solar panels, even nuclear power stations, all want us to believe in global warming, and they're every bit as much industries as oil and coal. Fear of global warming sells their products, many of which are not very competitive and need government subsidies, which in turn are also 'sold' to the public on the grounds of global warming. Any extra cost to government can be dealt with by extra taxes for, you guessed it, global warming - ETS, emission tax bands for cars, carbon levies on gas bills and airline tickets... you name it, governments have thought of it, and global bloody warming is selling the need for it. With all that money involved you'd better believe that Big Oil and Big Coal aren't the only ones with an agenda to push and a motive to mislead.
** Yes, I could Google it, but so could Paul McCartney or anyone else. I probably will check it out for my own curiosity, but the point is that I have taken the trouble to use teh interwebs to find these things out. It doesn't look to me like Paul McCartney has.
*** UPDATE  - But I won't go hunting because I don't shoot live animals for sport, and unless I've accidentally wasted an insect that sat on the wrong bit of a target or flew into the path of some shot I've never shot anything living anyway. The point is that I can and Paul McCartney is sorely tempting me, but the reality is that it's so much easier to go to the local butchers. He knows how to cut meat up properly for starters. Main courses as well, come to mention it****.
**** I'll get me coat.

Interesting question.

At The Times there's one of those discussions about time travel and what bit of history you'd like to prevent or alter. The usual suspects of mass murdering dictators, assassins and religious zealotry are mentioned along with a few predictable contemporary names and some Douglas Admas style "we should never have left the sea: stuff, but one commenter brought up an interesting idea.
I'm surprised no-one has said going back far enough to reconcile the crown and the colonies and so prevent the American revolution. Not that this was a bad thing, for the colonists at any rate, but only because the political consequences would be so fascinating and far-reaching./span>
The thought's occurred to me before. What if George III - the man who later told John Adams that he'd have been the last to agree to the colonies' independence - had been more reasonable? What if he'd accepted the petitions of the colonists at a fairly early stage? Might the Boston Tea Party, the rebellion and the war all have been avoided or had the colonists already developed a taste for self rule and independence? I don't know as much about the time, the place or the people living in it as I'd like so it's all a bit speculative, but it would have been interesting if history had taken a slightly different course and some of those colonists who had become passionate about "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" been able to spread their ideas in Britain.

Failing that it might have been interesting to interrupt the drafting of the US Constitution in 1787 and ask them if they had the slightest idea how, in a little over two centuries, the document they were working so hard over would be simultaneously revered and shat on, and how life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness would have the unofficial caveat of "as long as the government are okay with it" added to the end.

Top Gear meets Chaser.

I sometimes think you can get away with absolutely anything if you've got a handy film crew to point at people.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Dan Hannan on the election the UK isn't allowed to have.

See the whole thing, but let me just highlight this section (my bold):
The best course for Labour MPs would be to despatch their leader with the cold efficiency of so many abattoir workers, replace him with someone presentable, hope for a honeymoon and flatter the electorate with an early poll. Mandy, of all people, knows this perfectly well. So what the devil is he playing at? Viewed from the Westminster lobby, it seems an impenetrable mystery. From the perspective of Brussels, though, the answer is obvious. European Commissioners are obsessed with the need to keep David Cameron at bay until the Lisbon Treaty is ratified.
You see, the Conservative leader has promised a referendum on Lisbon – and, unlike the other two party leaders, he means it. He has even instructed his lawyers to draw up the Bill in advance, so that he could introduce it on his first day in office. Eurocrats are understandably determined to keep the Tory leader out until after the second Irish referendum in October. (There is a universal, if somewhat insulting, assumption in Brussels that the Irish will roll over this time.) Mandelson is their agent, their man in Westminster.
He may be a Minister of the Crown these days, but his heart is plainly in his last job. He likes to boast of his proximity to EU leaders, and recently floated the idea that Britain might join the euro. If keeping Lisbon on track means condemning his grandfather's party, he will do the necessary.
If my theory strikes you as fanciful, recall Mandelson's interview in The Daily Telegraph last week, in which he spoke of the likelihood of a new challenge to Gordon Brown in the autumn. Why, having seen the rebels off a few weeks ago, should he positively invite them to have another go after the recess? Because it won't matter by then. The Euro-constitution will be in force.
Quite. The only thing Dan Hannan's not said - being a maverick can only go so far after all - is that Cameron's proposed referendum is conditional on the Irish referendum. That hands Mandlesnake and the EU plotters an enormous weapon, and it's the very thing that Dan Hannan write about in fact. Cameron could disarm them easily simply by saying that there will be a referendum on Europe when the Tories take office - if the Irish have not yet had their say had another chance to vote the way they were supposed to the first time then the Tories could hold the planned referendum for the UK. But if the Irish have voted and capitulated then the referendum the new Tory government would hold would address British membership of the EU itself.

Raise the stakes, Dave. You're being bluffed and if only you looked at your cards you might see that you're holding pocket aces. Faced with an almost certain Labour defeat to the Tories and one of two guaranteed referendums on Europe Mandlesnake and the EU will take the hit on the Constitreaty over a possible vote by the British to leave the Union altogether. The EU would be badly damaged (probably not fatally though) by the exit of one of the largest economies within it, even if it merely joins EFTA instead. Oh, they won't be happy. They'll be fucking livid I expect. But they'll lose the Constitreaty over a major member any day of the week and twice on Sundays, and I'd bet that something will happen - another scandal, another couple of cabinet resignations, some last straw that Gordon won't be allowed to survive this time - and there'd be an election in a couple of months.

So the question for Cameron, and for Dan Hannan as well really, is why doesn't he do this? Cameron threatened the Constitreaty but they've outmaneuvered him on that and he must surely know it. Is it possible that Dave really lacks the sense (or perhaps the balls) to raise? Or is he actually playing another game entirely, one in which he's content to be a PM on Europe's leash and to have lost on purpose the opportunity to scupper the treaty he claims to oppose?

What the marker pens have covered up.

They really are unspeakable bastards, aren't they?

Freedom of association, bye-bye.

What the hell does it mean "outlaw criminal bikie gangs"? If they're criminal then by definition there's already something you can arrest them for. If you're having to pass laws to make a gang illegal for no reason other than just being, without even knowing if they've committed an actual crime, then there's a fucking problem. You've just made criminals of people because of the fear of what they might do, that's all. Some may say that they're just bikies, that plenty of them are involved in actual criminal activity, that they're anti social and intimidating and that, well, tough on the bikies.

No. That's not an excuse for chucking liberties down the nearest sewer. If someone commits a crime gather the evidence, charge them, and as long as you can convince a jury, imprison them. Do not simply make a criminal of someone because you think that they should be.
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

Then they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
I did not protest;
I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
I did not speak out;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out for me.
They have now come for the bikies. How long do the rest of us have?

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Strangers should be seen and not heard.

Bob Brown's making better headlines in the last couple of days having sprung to the defence of a female Senator and fellow green:
THE Greens have challenged federal parliament to become more child-friendly after the two-year-old daughter of one of their senators was ejected from the chamber yesterday.

Greens leader Bob Brown said he would pursue a motion of dissent over Senate President John Hogg's decision to remove Sarah Hanson-Young's child, Kora, during a vote.

Kora burst into tears when she was taken from her mother, a South Australian senator, by a staffer and could still be heard crying outside after the chamber doors were locked.

"We can't allow children to be in here for a division," the Labor senator said.

He could not be reached for comment immediately after the incident, while Senator Hanson-Young declined to comment.

Senator Brown said the rules classifying an infant with her mother as a "stranger" in the house belonged to the horse-and-buggy era.
Oh, where to start? First off, if she was a bus driver Sarah Hanson-Young would not normally be able to have her daughter with her. Ditto if she was about a million and one things. Would you expect female surgeons to have their kids in the operating theatre while they rummage in patients? Or airline pilots having a kiddie seat where the other pilot's supposed to be? Or virtually any job you can think of for that matter. Most jobs don't have any practical way to have your kids around unless your job actually involves working with children. Most people have to get around not having their kids around. If that's a deal breaker then don't we go for the fucking job, and that should includes those wanting to be an MP or Senator. Apparently non-political mums understand this perfectly well.

Second, if Kora Hanson-Young is not a "stranger" then exactly what is she? I'm assuming that the idea and term came, like much else, from the Westminster system. That would mean a stranger is simply anyone who is neither a member of that chamber nor a Parliamentary official. I can't see why progeny should be added.

Third, what about the fellas? If, as we're told, equality legislation [headslap] insists on women being allowed to bring the ankle biters not just into Parliament House but into the debating chambers themselves then sorry ladies, but it cuts both ways. What's good for the goose is good for the gander - it must go both ways or not at all. And if it's to be the latter where do you draw the line? When everyone attending a debate has brought a child or two along and the kids outnumber the politicians? No, sorry, that's clearly not acceptable. Yet if we say the line shouldn't be that high then where? It becomes arbitrary, which in turn means it's not fair on the first one to turn up with the kids in tow to be told that the Parliamentary sprog limit has already been reached. As said previously, if it's a deal breaker for anyone thinking of standing for Parliament then they shouldn't go for the fucking job either. It's just the same if you live in Perth and can't hack the traveling to Canberra all the time - you just. Don't. Do. It. Look, I've been there and the place is fucking huge. You want to have kids in there then find a nice big room, clear out a few desks and make a decent crèche. I know about this and frankly you can do better than 22 places when you have 150 members of the House of Reps, 76 Senators. Of course, there are a couple of thousand or so other people who work there and they must be treated equally, right? Or do those elected to Parliament get some sort of preferential treatment? Not going to fly any better with regular people than the preferential treatment of having your kids in there if you ask me.

Fourth, and kind of following on from that, if you really, really want a child friendly Parliament that attracts women (and men) who are also parents who need to look after children then you'll need to make some fucking drastic changes. For one thing late sittings are not at all child friendly, and yet wouldn't it be irresponsible of a Parliamentarian to duck the responsibility of representing their electorate for personal reasons? Perhaps not all late sessions are important but there only has to be one and suddenly the choice is between your child and many thousands of people who expect you to represent them adequately. Tough choice and not a fair situation to put people in, so late sessions have got to go. But then the kids get older and we start running into the same situation at the beginning and end of the school day, so to be fair to MPs and Senators who have younger school age children the school run hours are probably out too. Then for older kids there may be after school activities that they may need collecting from, which would bugger up the early part of the evening. Weekend sittings then? That'd be drastic, but fair? Not for those whose children are sporty and want the support of Mum/Dad for netball or footy. No individual will have their whole weekend accounted for but you can virtually guarantee that across those 226 people there'd be several who couldn't make any given time slot.

So am I saying it can't be done? No, not at all. It certainly can be done but the change needed is far more drastic - a move to a very strong libertarian Parliament. Devolve far more power to the states (and possibly encourage the NT to become one) and make Canberra a meeting place not of professional politicians but of dedicated citizen legislators. With devolution of many Commonwealth powers and responsibilities to the state governments there'd be less to do in Canberra, and Parliamentarians might need to meet only one or two days a week. Eventually it might be possible to condense it down to a few days a month. This would not only be easier on parents of either underwear but would probably be far less of a big deal for them to bring their kids into the chamber - most of the important decisions won't be taken in there anyway but in the state capitals. Better yet, not only would it attract parents who want to be able to stay close to their children and serve their country, the loss of power and prestige that goes with it would be a disincentive to the sort of pricks common to national governments the world over for whom the power and prestige is the big draw.

Yes, I have been re-reading The Plan and shamelessly stolen from it. But if it happened then there'd rarely be a need to send Senator Hanson-Young's daughter out of the room, and indeed all Parliamentarians would be better able to plan their effectively part time political jobs with their needs as parents. Wouldn't that be an improvement?

Fishing for sympathy won't help.

Oh boohoo, Gordon, boofuckinghoo.
"I'm not as great a presenter of information or communicator as I would like to be," he said in an interview, adding that he is not skilled at political manoeuvring. "I don't actually think I'm very good at it at all."
Must have finally worked himself up to watch that YouTube video, and mad as he is even he found it painful and cringe making.
Adding that he has been "hurt" by the personal attacks on him in the past month, calling it the toughest point of his "political life", Mr Brown admitted: "To be honest, you could walk away from all of this tomorrow."
Good. Don't let the door of No. 10 hit you in the arse on your way out.

But you won't though, will you?
Despite the issues his party had faced in the last month, Mr Brown said he was confident Labour could still win the next general election...
See? Mad, as they say here, as a cut snake.
He said the idea any party in government would need to cut public spending was "a myth", arguing the Tories' strategy proved they could no longer "talk about being mainstream".
Hang on. The need to cut spending is a myth, is it? Then I must ask two questions: what should a government do when when a recession hits tax revenue, it's borrowed nearly as much as it can, has run out of money and has put aside the square root of fuck all during the boom times (which it had abolished before the bust that hurt the revenue, but never mind)? How is the need for cuts mythical when you've simultaneously over extended and emptied the coffers? The fact is that this is something anyone and everyone who's ever needed to balance their own bank account will understand - when you've got nothing left and can't borrow more you simply cannot afford to buy a new TV. Any party of government that tries is going to go against the personal experience of voters and look irresponsible. And you're worried about looking mainstream, Gordon? Looks like you've been mainlining, you fuckwit.

Second question, O suppository of wisdom, if the need to cut public spending is a myth why the fuck did you let your badger faced sock puppet cut it in the last budget?

Fred Goodwin again.

Beautifully put.
As the former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive made the offer to smooth his return to the UK, people across the country said if it was them they would be learning French and browsing through yacht catalogues while an attractive man or woman licked paté off their private area.
Margaret Gerving from Guildford, added: "Surrender half the pension you are legally entitled to so you can come back to some shithole of a country where it fucking rains all the time and everyone thinks you're Satan... I'm beginning to understand why RBS went down the tubes. He's a psychopath."
She added: "Is he really that worried about people in Britain hating him? They hate whoever happens to be on the front page of their idiot newspaper. Half of them hate Susan Boyle and they don't even know why."
Tom Logan, from Porter, Pinkney and Turner, said: "If the criteria for giving back half your pension is being shit at your job, then can we have back half the pensions of all those teachers whose schools have been churning out thumbless fuckwits for the last 20 years?"
And Emma Bradford, from Madeley-Finnegan, added "There are two key reasons why Sir Fred should not give back his pension. One, it was all Gordon Brown's fault, and two, it was all Gordon Brown's fault."

Friday, 19 June 2009


I suppose the decision to give up half his pension in order to return to the UK is up to Fred Goodwin, but as I blogged at the time (and I wasn't the only one) I felt a more interesting aspect was that it exposed the desire of the NuLab bastards and some of their supporters to flush away the inconvenience of contract law, and to turn Goodwin into a scapegoat to hand to an angry public. Now despite my lack of any affection for Fred The Shred - I actually said I hoped he'd fall down the stairs and land on his balls - I was very much on his side about this because he had a fucking contract, despite which the grinning mutation's celebrity lawyer wife was set on him in a litigation friendly jurisdiction that really had nothing to do with it. Oh, and Broon and Harperson wittering on about the court of public opinion and how unacceptable it was.
Worth noting also that this is another disgusting example of litigation tourism. Everyone involved is British but it's going to be heard in the US. Why? The bank is a UK bank, Fred The Shred is British, and the workers/pensioners who have paid into the funds must be British, or at least UK residents, because the funds are for local authorities. Even the legal representative they've hired is British. On the face of it that means it's got fuck all to do with America, so why not hear it in Britain?

... It's because they think the US system is more likely to find in their favour, and given that the Yanks are known for such legal gems as suing McDonalds for the coffee being hot I'm prepared to believe it. Basically it seems that you get money if you can look tearful but honest while you stand in front of a jury and say that you didn't get hurt/lose money because you're a phenomenally stupid cunt, but because they didn't take into account that you're a phenomenally stupid cunt. Personally I think that if you're going to find in favour of stupid cunts then it's only fair to allow a counter suit that the previous plaintiff didn't give fair warning that they're a stupid cunt by wearing a sign stating it clearly and unequivocally. Or perhaps some sort of hat?
And then there's the reason for the suit; hubris. So if there was a Prime Minister who previously served a decade as Chancellor of the Exchequer during which time they claimed to have abolished boom and bust fifteen or twenty times, and is now frantically lurching about pointing fingers and blaming every fucker but the one in the mirror, would that be at all hubristic? Could this hypothetical fuckwit be sued?


What about all the fucking National Insurance contributions I've paid over the years? Don't answer, I already know. It's gone, disappeared, vanished. Spent as part of general tax revenue rather than invested for my future as a pension should be, and I can go whistle if I want a penny of it back. And what if my private pension arrangements were devalued years ago as one of the first acts of a new Chancellor who'd go on to claim he'd abolished boom and bust at least once a year for the next twelve years? Could I sue? Could we all? A class action of millions of people who got fucked in 1997 and haven't stopped being fucked since? Of course, that wouldn't really have affected us all if we'd worked somewhere in the public sector, like for instance North Yorkshire or Merseyside councils, the two plaintiffs going after RBS and Fred The Shred.

Honest to fuck, the stench of the hypocrisy is enough to make you vomit. Public sector pensions have been protected by government while government has systematically looted and rooted private schemes, and the bastard responsible is capable of hubris that makes Fred The Shred look possessed of saintly modesty by comparison. Now the boot's on the other foot they've found a lawyer and Googled "where's best to win a law suit". Cunts.

Most annoying of all, before there was this desperation to make Fred Goodwin the symbol of hatred, target du jour for retribution and designated culprit of the entire banking balls up (without even the slightest nod to the role of HM Government and the FSA) I was quite comfortable despising the prick. I don't want to take the side of someone I think is a smarmy arsehole, but when people openly plan to change the law so contracts can be torn up retrospectively and sue because they couldn't be arsed to make their own judgements about the risk their investment was running I can't help but feel some sympathy. This whole get-Fred-at-any-cost mentality is pretty un-edifying and smacks slightly of dodgy coppers in the 1970s fitting up the most convenient suspect because they must have done it, and even if they didn't they're sure as fuck guilty of something.
So it's something of a disappointment to hear that he's so desperate to return from his long three months or so exile somewhere fucking awful in the sunshine of the French Riviera. Is the man fucking mad? Firstly, prick though he is he'd negotiated a contract and that's the end of it. I worry for the future of contracts in the UK if someone can effectively be bullied by the government, their media drones and a stirred up public into giving up like this. Honestly, the fucking Mafia couldn't have done a better job. Secondly, Fred must have been in the sunshine long enough to lose his senses if he imagines for a second that anything short of giving up every penny will placate some of those involved in the Two Minute Hate.
Rob MacGregor, national officer of union Unite, said: "For the diabolical failure, by Fred Goodwin, which led to the near collapse of RBS this small gesture represents only a fraction of the massive pension that he is walking away with. Goodwin will still enjoy a very comfortable future at the expense of the taxpayer.
"This decision to repay some of the massive pension pot he has taken will do nothing for the thousands of staff who have already lost their jobs within RBS. Also many thousands more employees face an uncertain future, while the person whose misjudgement and greed caused their misery enjoys a life of luxury."
Oh fuck off, Rob. We've all seen how socialists behave with money when they get the chance. So why not take your opinions round to, oooh, say the Kinnocks' house? I suggest you bring up the pensions they've amassed for being respectively a serial election loser, unelected EU apparatchik and unelected Lord, or in her case an MEP guaranteed her seat by being at the top of her party list, unelected Lord Lady, whwtaver (I really don't give a shit) and instant Minister in the fucking Cabinet. I'd also suggest both you and the pair of them fuck yourselves with a vinegar soaked belt sander.

And Fred? You won't be welcome there yet, and probably not ever. Do what you want with the money - keep it, give it up, take it and give it to charity, whatever. But coming back will only get bricks thrown through windows and your kids bullied at school again. Accept it, give up on the UK at least for another few years, and learn to like where you are. Oh, and grow a pair of balls, eh...

... and then fall down the stairs and land on 'em.

UPDATE: "If Sir Fred Goodwin had a shred of decency, he'd give it all back" - The Daily Telegraph. See?

Hello. I'm calling you from your Parliament and.....

"Gordon Brown's purge will leave us with MPs fit only for a call-centre." says Benedict Brogan.

"What do you mean 'will'?" asks the Angry Exile.

PETA - Pilkington taste testers.

PETA, the people who I once described at Mummy Long Legs' place as Pilkington taste testers for calling fish 'sea kittens', are at it again. At the time Mummy was commenting on the self righteous twats protesting outside the restaurant of, er, well, another self righteous twat if I'm honest.
Members of Peta stood outside the chef’s Italian restaurant holding placards with the words: “Be Pukka to Pigs: Go Vegetarian” on Monday. I do wish Peta would fuck off. For that matter I wish Jamie Oliver would too. But in this case I have to side with him. Jamie does a show that highlights the crap conditions that pigs are reared in on the continent. He then sources his pork from British farms, that have to uphold a much higher standard of care for their pigs. Still not perfect but hey ho. So who do Peta pick on, the guy that is fighting the same cause as them. Thick Fucks, every last one of them.
Which in turn prompted me to write in the comments:
PETA are just another bunch of bastards who get a warm fuzzy at the thought of dictating how other people live. I think of them as being a bit like ALF’s Sinn Fein. Not quite as obscene as Sinn Fein were in the 70s and 80s obviously, but similar in that their role is to create legal publicity for ‘the cause’ and leave the blackmail, letter bombs, releasing mink into the countryside to kill lots of wild animals (ooops – stupid cunts). And what a bunch of hypocritical bastards PETA are? How the fuck they can stand there claiming that the E in PETA stands for ethical without every fucking bible for hundreds of miles around exploding is fucking beyond me and just proves that God is either non-existent or works some kind of celestial office hours and Monday morning isn’t for another forty thousand years. Look for the PETA episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! on YouTube. It’ll make you angry enough to want to pelt those two self righteous bitches outside Fifteen with kidneys and black pudding, and then to really upset them by going inside for a plate of tiger steaks garnished with panda bollocks. Not like the pandas are using them or anything, is it?

No, fuck you, silly PETA ladies with no clothes on. I’ll keep my pets and care for them as if they were the children we never had, and I’ll eat meat when I want and I’ll decide for myself what’s ethical and what I can’t quite live with (veal and fois gras, though I loved the taste). And you know what else? If I feel like it I’ll go out into the bush with a ute and a gun and I’ll shoot Skippy in the face, brush him lightly with olive oil and pop him under a medium grill, 2-3 minutes each side, serve with a nice salad. G’day Skip… what’s that, mate… medium to rare? … BLAM Want to argue silly PETA ladies? I’m prepared not to shoot Skippy if I can try vegetarian. Organically reared and Quorn fed of course.
And now the PETA pricks are off again, though it's close it's not quite as daft as the sea kittens, I'll give 'em that. They're upset because the Obamessiah swatted a fly at a press conference, and his holy touch killed a fly instead of raising it from... er, well of course it wasn't actually dead but you get the picture.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants the flyswatter in chief to try taking a more humane attitude the next time he's bedeviled by a fly in the White House.
"We support compassion even for the most curious, smallest and least sympathetic animals," PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich said Wednesday.
Hazel Blears has more support than I thought.
"We believe that people, where they can be compassionate, should be, for all animals."
It's a fucking fly for Christ's sake. I wonder if you'd feel compassion if a shark was chewing your leg off, or whether you'd use any means at your disposal to kill or drive the thing off*. I doubt even PETA types are willing to lie there passively while yelling how much they love the thing chewing them to pieces. And if a large dangerous animal how about a very small one? And if a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy, then where do disease vectors and pests fit in? Or the bacterial genocide we each commit in the shower every morning? And am I the first to wonder if PETA members and ethical vegans like Paul McCartney would stick to their principles on a desert island with nothing edible but 25,000 flightless birds and a shipping container of Paxo? Given that it's human nature to try to survive and also that even PETA's Vice President is happy to use animal products when they're in insulin for controlling her diabetes I think we know the answer to that one.

Anyway, back to flies and sharks, here's what I suggest. I imagine PETA would say of someone being eaten by a shark that they had entered the shark's environment voluntarily and shit happens. Fair enough, and I even tend to agree. So who forced the fly into the environs of the Obamessiah? Sorry fly, shit happens.

H/T Shibby.

UPDATE: NickM at Counting Cats weighs in with his opinion of the BBC's coverage of The One, particularly their laughable and unjustified adulation:
On a not entirely unrelated note I had BBC News24 on in the background a few days ago whilst every fifteen minutes they showed The One swat a fly. The presenters were amused and adulating (he can swat a fly! Think what he’ll do to Al Quaeda!). As this was going on there was all hell breaking out in Iran and quite correctly that got no mention. It’s times like that I feel the license fee is such brilliant value for money because only the BBC (due to the unique way it’s funded) could show such editorial acuity and bring us the news that really mattered. Yup, there are times when “man swats fly” is so much more important than “hundreds of thousands demonstrate against a corrupt theocracy” and this was such a time. Children as yet unborn shall always remember where they were when The One slew the vile Musca domesticus with his bare hands and the sideshow in Tehran will be a mere footnote to His divine progress. Next week He shall perform the miracle of removing the quite large spider from the bath with an empty jar and a piece of card. And great shall be the rejoicing of Michelle and it shall ring out unto every nation!

For He has come amongst us and verily He canst deal with minor bug annoyances!

*Which I admit might well amount to stuff all.

My flabber is ghasted.

Seen among the bones outside the Ambush Predator's cave, no being buried in Kirklees unless you have a sufficiently environmentally sound attitude towards your dirt nap.
Grieving relatives have been left distraught after a council banned them from dressing loved ones in their favourite outfits in a crackdown on pollution.
It means an end to people being cremated wearing their football shirts, or parents placing soft toys in children's coffins.
Kirklees Council in West Yorkshire is the only authority in the country to adopt the approach, according to a national cremation body.
On top of the normal funeral arrangements, mourning families in Huddersfield are being forced to spend £60 on natural-fibre shrouds or seek permission from council officials to help honour their loved ones' last wishes.
The eco-nazis strike again, and cannily find a way to make the bereaved put their hands in their pockets for this natural fibre eco-shroud at the same time - literally sackcloth and ashes from a bunch of pretentious local government pricks, may they choke on their pious self righteousness.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Had to happen sooner or later.

A criminal trial without a jury has been given the go ahead because, as far as I can see, they can't keep the jury safe, unbribed and generally nobble free.
Three judges in London, headed by the lord chief justice, Lord Judge, gave the go-ahead because of a "very significant" danger of jury tampering. Lord Judge said the case concerned "very serious criminal activity" arising from a robbery at a warehouse at Heathrow airport in 2004.

Reporting restrictions ban the identification of four defendants. Their trial will take place "in due course".

Today's decision by Lord Judge, sitting with Lord Justice Goldring and Mr Justice McCombe, means the new trial will be the first crown court case in England and Wales to be heard by a judge alone since new legislation came into force in 2003.
Actually I'm not sure it's completely unprecedented. I seem to remember that some terrorist trials in Northern Ireland were heard without juries, but despite terrorists still being criminals this is 'only' armed robbery. That makes trial without a jury on the grounds of an inability to look after a dozen people a bit worrying if you ask me, and for a couple of several reasons. First is that with reporting restrictions in place there's an air of secrecy about it all. Who are the defendants? No idea, they won't say. Whether due to restrictions or sheer can't be arsedeness the Grauniad won't even specify the robbery, although they've said enough for anyone to Google with so I guess this would be it. Now there might be good reasons for it, and I certainly wouldn't want a trial by media situation buggering things up, but if justice is to be seen to be done then opacity doesn't help. Secondly there's the major point that we have trial by jury for a good reason, to prevent anyone being stitched up and jailed because they were convicted on the mind of just one person, however impartial they tried to be. How do we know the judge (or a judge - I hope to hell it'll be more than one) won't be 'got' in some way? One person is easier to protect than twelve I suppose but it's not just protection from intimidation but from influence.

But all that's besides the point. Look at what has been said about this:
In his written judgment, handed down in open court, Lord Judge said: "The case concerns very serious criminal activity, including possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, possession of a firearm with intent to commit robbery, and conspiracy to rob."

During a "carefully planned and professionally executed armed robbery", a firearm was fired at a supervisor. "The objective of the robbery was something in the region of £10m in sterling and mixed foreign currency. As a result of a misreading of a flight manifest, the proceeds amounted to £1.75m, which are largely unrecovered."
Serious criminal activity? Well obviously it's not petty crime we're talking about, but a conspiracy, a gun, the will to use it and the best part of a couple of million still missing do not make for anything unprecedented. Brinks Mat and the Securitas were both serious crimes involving enough people to be conspiracies, and involved firearms and plausible threats of violence. On top of which significant amounts weren't recovered in both cases. Yet the Brinks Mat and Securitas trials were held openly and in front of juries, so what the fuck is going on? We could be forgiven for thinking that someone felt it was about time to test drive that new legislation permitting trials without jury.
Lord Judge went on: "In this country, trial by jury is a hallowed principle of the administration of criminal justice. It is properly identified as a right, available to be exercised by a defendant unless and until the right is amended or circumscribed by express legislation."
Well that seems to be precisely the fucking problem. It has been circumscribed, and snow the precedent has been set so that hallowed principle can now be disposed of when convenient. Only time will tell if this is the thin end of the wedge, but with all the other authoritarian legislation brought in over the last few years... I know I'm not the only one to think the UK has been a soft police state for a while now, but it really looks like it's taking steps towards becoming much nastier.

The grinning mutation, the monocular maniac and the puppet master Mandelsnake have put all the tools in place. All that's needed is someone mad or evil enough to use them to the full and Air Strip One could be coming soon. I know it's been quoted plenty of times before but it's worth seeing it again:
"What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ... And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you - where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's, and if you cut them down -- and you're just the man to do it -- do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!"
Sir Thomas More  -  A Man For All Seasons

UPDATE 1: Shibby has a link to the Mouth's coverage of the story, where I read this (my bold):
Lord Judge told the court the cost of the measures needed to protect jurors from potential influence, such as the services of police officers, was too high and that such measures may not properly insulate them.
Fucking hell. It comes down to that then, does it? Money? Well if the bastards get their sentences - because regardless of their possible guilt in reality I don't give them a snowball's chance in hell of being found not guilty in the court - overturned on appeal we'll know what fucknuts are to blame for it.

UPDATE 2: ON reading a bit further I see that the new legislation that allows this is the Criminal Justice Act 2003 which came into force a month too late for the Securitas trial. Did I say test drive? Did I?

UPDATE 3: Bishop Hill raises a point that had occurred to me but which I hadn't really addressed. British citizens have had their means, if not their actual right, to defend themselves taken away piecemeal over the last century or so. A little here, a little there, and suddenly modern Britons are basically helpless. And this has been done on the grounds that the police are there to protect them and so the need for a means of effective self defence is no longer needed. It's crap of course, but when the police are apparently unable to adequately protect a dozen people how they hell do they expect us to believe they can protect 60 million? I suspect this might be another reason why the judgement talked about cost of protecting a jury and inconvenience to jury members. Saying that they doubted they could protect 12 people, whose whereabouts are largely fixed and known to the police in advance, might make the rest of the country sit up and say "Wait... what?"


Sci-fi fans...

... there is hope.

Democracy in action.

Deciding a tied vote isn't often a problem at the level of national politics but I suppose it might not be that rare at a very local level, particularly in the US where they practically elect the post man. So it's interesting to read how a town in Arizona dealt with the problem.
Thomas McGuire and Adam Trenk each won 660 votes in an election last month for a seat on the Cave Creek council.
A recount was considered too expensive and insufficiently entertaining.
Entertaining? That's genius to start with.
Instead, town leaders invoked a 1925 local statute that calls for such eventualities to be settled by a game of chance.
Previous deadlocks have been decided by gunfights but the pair opted to draw cards instead.
Well, I can understand choosing cards over guns, but in defence of the gunfight idea it would thin the competition for the next election to serious candidates. Worth considering in the UK, though I'd prefer to see the two tied candidates settle it with grenades.
At a ceremony at the local town hall on Monday, George Preston, Cave Creek's judge, selected a pack of cards from a stetson and shuffled it six times.
Mr McGuire, 64, a retired teacher who has served two terms on the council, drew the six of hearts.
He was beaten by Mr Trent, 25, a law student and newcomer to Cave Creek, who got the king of hearts.
All I can say is that it sounds an interesting place to live. Deciding a tied election on the draw of a high card not only seems fair but rather appropriate for a small town in the American west, and would certainly have been more entertaining than flipping a coin. Good for them.
Mr McGuire, who moved to the town 10 years ago from suburban New York, said he knew Cave Creek was different when he went into a bar and found a horse inside.
I want to visit. I really, really do.

More people needing freedom lessons.

This is where the idea of replacing liberty with human rights ends up - a bunch of witches complaining of being persecuted discriminated against by the Catholic Church when they booked a church hall for a Halloween do. Yep, really.
Sandra Davis, the "high priestess" of Crystal Cauldron group in Stockport, Greater Manchester, said she was shocked to be told that the pagan group was not considered to be compatible with the church's "ethos".
Shocked her? Why? What the fuck did she think they'd say? "Yeah, come on in, we're planning to have mass in the local Sikh temple that night anyway, because the Sikhs are using the synagogue and the Jews are using the mosque and the muslims are using the CofE church ever since they got that fucking druid in and made Anglicanism about as fashionable as brown cords, tweed jackets with leather elbow patches and a Zapata moustache. It's called 'Faith Swap', what do you think?" Of course they're going to fucking discriminate against you for not being compatible with their beliefs, and this is perfectly fine because - deep breath - IT'S THEIR FUCKING BUILDING. Oh, and incidentally it doesn't come remotely fucking close to 'persecution' despite what you'd like to imagine to achieve that coveted victim status you're so clearly after in order to get your way.
"It makes you think that there is still a little bit of that attitude from the past of the Catholics wanting to burn witches," she said.
See? In the mind of this silly witch (sorry, gratuitous pun I know) "no, you can't use the hall" is equal to "we're going to put you on a pile of oily wood and light it".
"I thought we had made progress, tat [sic] we could accept other people's religious paths."
Dream on! Clearly we haven't made any fucking progress at all. Your idea of acceptance of "other people's religious paths" is for them to accept you not matter how batshit crazy your beliefs may be. You, on the other hand, feel absolutely no obligation to accept them and their crazy beliefs, one of which involves not renting out their property to people whose beliefs aren't reconcilable with their own.

As I said the other day, I don't believe in anything you can't show me. Values I can "believe in" in the sense that I have an opinion on them, but I'll treat with equal scepticism* any mystic forces, gods and other entities that must be taken on faith. But I'm siding with the Pope's troops er, wrong thing to say, his team on this. Their beliefs are no more convincing to me than those of Wiccans, but they own the building and are perfectly at liberty to set the house rules. If that's no Wiccans, no food, no Abba tribute bands or whatever then that's just tough for Amethyst Selmeselene, or Mrs Davis as she's known in this dimension, or that ridiculous bullying fuckwit as she's known in this house.

Amethyst thingummy Davis, go fuck yourself with the bristly end of your own broom, you deranged bat.

*To anyone reading this who is a believer of something, I'm not saying it's not there - I'm just saying that you can't prove it is. If you want to believe then good for you, and I'm not going to knock you for it. I'm literally agnostic (only because atheism strikes me as being belief in the absence of something) about everything from God to the zodiac, but in the continuing absence of anything convincing I think it all seems equally unlikely.
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