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

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Twenty Eight Minutes Later.

Oh fuck. Shotguns and chainsaws ready, everybody. According to Will Heaven in The Telegraph the zombie apocalypse is finally here. That's the bad news. The good news is that it's starting in Westminster so the infected dead can stumble around moaning 'BRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIINNNNSSS' as much as they like - they won't find enough in Parliament to make much more than a round of sandwiches.

In seriousness the zombie march has been organised by Vote for a Change and is a fun way of protesting against unaccountable MPs and an electoral system that's too easily twisted by the main parties to their advantage. Parliament of the living dead, they call it.
Willie Sullivan, a spokesman for the campaign, reckons that in the Houses of Parliament, “Instead of men and women with independent minds and souls, we see mindless ghouls shambling through the voting lobbies. We see elections in hundreds of safe seats throughout the land, where even a corpse could win a job for life”. He says the protesters want “a parliament where voters’ voices are heard, all votes count and MPs are truly accountable – a parliament that’s quite simply better equipped to do its job in representing us, the voters”. In other words, his campaign wants to abandon the first past the post electoral system.
Where Will Heaven is less than impressed is with Vote for a Change's choice of proportional representation as a replacement, although briefly looking at their site it doesn't seem to me like they're die hard PR advocates. Instead they seem to suggest a referendum on whether the system should change by a certain date (they suggest 2014) with the replacement system to be debated and determined after the referendum if they get the Yes vote they hope for. Makes sense, and increases the chance of a Yes vote I'd have thought. If the question is just whether to replace First Past The Post with PR then those who oppose both but are more anti PR will vote No even though they'd vote Yes on a simpler question of whether there should be a change at all. Aussie friends here who are broadly republican have told me that they voted No in Australia's referendum on the issue of becoming a republic and ditching Mrs Queen as head of state because they were even more opposed to the alternatives on offer - but they'd have said Yes if it had been a simple 'Do you want to be a republic in X years?' type question (some feel that the referendum was designed that way on purpose).

Vote for a Change are avoiding that trap and want to ask simply this: should the electoral system in the UK change? With all the troughing and people starting to wake up to the problem of safe seats - the 21st Century's rotten boroughs - they can probably expect some support. Enough to persuade the Browns and Camerons and those lined up behind them? Ah, well, no, probably not. Turkeys won't vote for Christmas, at least not until the alternative looks worse for them.

UPDATE: I noticed the FAQ on the Vote for a Change site recognised that corruption, safe seats and party cronyism still occur in countries with PR and other voting systems. Tell me about it - I landed in territory pretty much owned by the Australian Labor Party, and that's despite the system of Preferential Voting used to elect the House of Representatives ( ≈ House of Commons) and a cross between that and PR to elect the Senate ( ≈ House of Lords). The thing is I'm not sure that changing the voting system itself will alter that much, but what might is this. As pointed out by Daniel Hannan and Douglas Carswell in The Plan, open primaries more or less destroy the notion of safe seats since to keep it the incumbent must keep on the side of his/her constituents at least as much as the party - more so if recalls are brought in too. Even with the FPTP voting system unchanged sucking up to the Whips and party hierarchy will do you no good if an unhappy electorate can deselect you despite party support, or even force you to face re-election early. If Vote for a Change want to do something about the mindless lobby fodder in Parliament they could do worse than get behind that idea.

I am an evil man.

With vegetabalism in the news because Stern thinks it will solve warble gloaming I had to chuckle at this.

song chart memes

Guilty of all of the above. Just the one offence of beating, though I did actually beat it to death and then cook it. And I enjoyed it, which is probably also a serious crime. But then what about all the food I've given to animals over the years, and those that were sick until I've paid for a knowledgeable vet to make them better? Perhaps embarrassing for the animals to be in a hoomin's debt, so still wrong I expect.


€100 billion. Wonder how much that bonehead Gordon has signed Britain up for. And I wonder how much Saint Kevin will commit Australia to throwing away on the Emissions Trading Scheme, despite some people finally starting to wake up.
LIBERAL Party frontbenchers have begun to dump their support for carbon emissions trading after receiving party research showing voters are increasingly skittish about putting a price on carbon.


Several sources said party director Brian Loughnane told the meeting that when interviewers explained the implications of an ETS to survey respondents, they were negative about the proposed scheme.

News of the shift emerged yesterday before today's launch by Liberal ETS opponent Cory Bernardi of a highly critical assessment of the European Union's emissions trading scheme which estimates it has cost consumers up to E116billion ($190bn) since 2005, with little environmental benefit.

The study, prepared by Britain's Taxpayers' Alliance, says climate change policies there form 14 per cent of household electricity prices and that electricity generators have made windfall profits at the expense of low-income earners and the elderly.


Senior Liberals are now saying the party polling, and public polls, show increasing concern about the costs of an ETS. They believe the best political option is to run a campaign against the government based on increased costs to households and industry.

Another MP said voters were starting to doubt the seriousness of climate change.

It is also understood backbench pressure is growing from marginal seat holders who fear they will lose their seats.

The Taxpayers' Alliance says the EU's ETS "has failed to perform and is imposing serious costs on ordinary families".

According to the EU's own figures there were only minor reductions in most European countries in greenhouse gas emissions between 2005 and 2008.

Senator Bernardi, who is leading the Liberal revolt in the Senate and running a direct opposition campaign, said yesterday the British report showed an ETS was "a massive economic impost that has no real environmental benefits".

"An ETS in any form is bad for business, bad for families and bad for our economy," he said.

"With clear evidence of how ineffective and expensive it has been in the European Union, there is no way an ETS should be introduced in Australia."
Somehow I doubt that will stop it from happening. Rudd, Wong, Garrett & Co have all got religion on this, and I can't see them holding back without a vast amount of voter feedback against the idea. Maybe not even then.

UnScience at the Science Museum.

The warble gloaming poll at the Science Museum has attracted some attention on teh interwebs recently. First was the fact that of those who cast a vote on it those crying bullshit far outnumbered those crying 'Hallelujah, we believe we will be saved because we can throw away our incandescent bulbs and read by the light that shines from Al Gore's arse.' Then some found that they weren't getting the click to confirm email needed to make the vote actually count. Then the ayes and nays began to approach parity. Finally the counters were reset and by the looks of it, since I finally managed to vote and get the damn email, the poll was fixed. No, not that kind of fixed, I just mean they've made it work properly. We're now back to square one and the number are 847 arselight readers and 5,769 evil heretics... hang on, let me just deal with this email... click link... right, make that 5,770 evil heretics. All moot of course, since Gordon has saved the world now, or at least worked out how much it's going to cost or something. Yeah, right, no more boom and bust.

But something else I noticed on the poll page kind of echoes the attitude of some of the warmists (my emphasis).
Convinced? Want to spread the word? Invite your friends and family to be part of PROVE IT! Follow the three steps. Pick a point. Choose the evidence to back it up. Then send it on.
Funny, I thought a scientific approach was to consider all the fucking evidence, not just choose what suits. Which incidentally is how I went from believer to sceptic - there were just too many holes in the warmist case and what seemed like a lot of misdirection going on to try to hide them.

Sucking up to the expats.

Suddenly the both Tories and Laborg are interested in getting out the expat vote. Does that mean they've noticed they've alienated everyone else? I'm not convinced they'll have a lot of luck as the process of registering as an overseas voter can be a pain in the arse involving forms that need to be witnessed, but between the restrictions from the British end on who can witness them and Australian law (as if it's got a fucking thing to do with Australia whether I still vote in the UK anyway!) I really struggled to complete the forms at all. Might well be easier elsewhere but I still wouldn't be surprised if many expats don't bother - the same reasons for the apathy vote apply as they do for the 40% or so of UK voters who don't vote, except more so.

Personally I'd love either or both to look me up and send a begging email for my vote (HMRC knows where to find me), just so I can tell the both of them to fuck off. However, I'm in the interesting situation of having one of the troughers as my nominal MP, and one who has decided to step down at the election (though not paid anything back that I've heard about, natch). I had expected to tell my proxy to put my X next to the LPUK candidate if there is one, and failing that UKIP if they haven't been bankrupted out of existence by one sided application of the rules, and that if neither of those are options I was planning on spoiling the ballot paper some way that might at least raise a smile for whoever ends up counting it. Assuming that the main parties run to form and put up three examples of supine, vacuous, lobby fodder candidates this will still happen, but there's always the chance that one of them - and let's be honest, the Laborg is the least likely - might show some independence and libertarian values.

Meantime I'm going to have to get to grips with the Aussie system since there'll be an election here sometime in the next year.

Friday, 30 October 2009

All your genitals are belong to us.

I've blogged before on how the prudishness of some Western nations when it comes to the business of sex is childish, illogical and illiberal. It really should be nothing to do with government or law what consenting adults choose to do with or too each other's genitals, and to some extent they've mostly given up moralising the rest of us on the subject. Not, however, when money or even just the appearance of gain is involved. Oh no, then what is acceptable to the neo-puritans when given away for free suddenly becomes something sordid and nasty which must be punished. In other words women don't own their own vaginas if they going to try and benefit from their use. In many places this simply means that prostitution is illegal to a greater or lesser extent, but in Philadelphia they've gone in further by charging a woman with offering sex in return for baseball tickets.
An American woman who was charged with offering sex for World Series tickets on the Craigslist website has said she is embarrassed about her arrest, but did nothing wrong and is still hopeful of attending a game.
"I didn't do anything wrong, so I'm not embarrassed about my actions. I'm embarrassed about how I was arrested," Susan Finkelstein said one day after meeting at a suburban bar with an undercover police officer responding to an advertisement on Craigslist.
Miss Finkelstein's lawyer said his client is merely "a nice lady overcome with Phillies fever."

Only in America. Maybe she really did offer to shag the cop, maybe not. Who knows or cares apart from those directly involved. Even someone who opposes prostitution ought to be able to see what a stretch this is: either the arrest was because the tickets have a commercial value or because they're something she really, really wants, and how the hell does that make her a prossie? Is it so different from a woman offering sex in return for getting a big bunch of flowers on her birthday? Ultimately, if women are not allowed to benefit in any way shape or form from sex you have to ask if they're even allowed to have an orgasm. Ridiculous? Extreme? Sort of, yes, but by the sounds of things Ms Finkelstein enjoys baseball at least as much as some women enjoy sex.

Or maybe it was the wording of her Craigslist advert that got them worked up:
She might have dropped double entendres in her Craigslist advertisement but never explicitly offered sex, her lawyer William J. Brennan said.
If double entendres are a problem I really think they've got bigger fish to fry than a forty-something baseball nut.

Another one gets away with it.

Tony McNumpty McNulty, a man so egregious that I once felt 'cunt' wasn't strong enough, gets to keep the money he raked off as well.
The former Home Office minister was criticised by a formal inquiry for allowing his parents to live rent free at taxpayers' expense and ordered to repay more than £13,000.
But the Parliamentary committee, who decide MPs' punishments ruled he should be allowed to keep the majority of the money claimed on the home. The official investigation said it was "reasonable" for the taxpayer to help fund Mr McNulty's parents' house as it was in his constituency and could be designated as his second home.
Yet Mr McNulty himself admitted he only stayed there for a maximum of 66 nights a year. He spent the rest of the time at the nearby £900,000 house he shares with his wife Christine Gilbert, the head of Ofsted.
If you've got a very expensive monitor for Christ's sake do not play this clip:

Oh, you just appeared to benefit did you, Tony? So can you explain in what sense you did not actually benefit by getting the taxpayer to cough up sixty large ones towards a house occupied by your parents?
The report, published by the Standards and Privileges committee, comes just weeks after Jacqui Smith, the former Home Secretary, was only mildly rebuked despite being found to have broken the rules by claiming more than £100,000 after designating her family's house as her "second home". It will lead to more questions about whether MPs should decide on punishments over expense claims made by their colleagues.
Fucking hell! After all the fuss, fury and fallout six months back is this going to be the pattern? Slaps on wrists, token repayments and weasel worded apologies? Is anyone actually going to be told to pay back the lot and, since returning all that he stole wouldn't get a burglar off scot free, are any of the bastards actually going to be punished for it? I wish I could believe it but it doesn't look likely. And we were told that some MPs were suicidal? I think maybe what someone thought were wails of despair were actually howls of laughter.

UPDATE: Elsewhere in The Telegraph:
The report from the Commons Committee on Standards and Privileges into Tony McNulty exemplifies everything that was rotten with the now-discredited system of parliamentary allowances. It also casts serious doubt on whether MPs have even begun to understand what it was about the system that caused such anger.
McNulty ... claimed the additional costs allowance (ACA) for a second home occupied by his parents in Harrow. Over a period of several years, he was paid around £72,000 to cover the costs of mortgage interest, council tax and other bills.
The question of whether Mr McNulty claimed taxpayers' money to subsidise his parents would be a matter for the police, if there were some grounds for suspicion of fraud. Yet the morality of his actions does not appear to have troubled the standards committee at all. Even though his parents were living in the house, the committee accepted that Mr McNulty stayed there occasionally, thereby legitimising his claim.
On a couple of occasions where work has taken me away from home I've stayed at my mum's rather than a hotel. Did I miss a trick there? Should I have sent my then employers a bill for mum's mortgage, utilities and council tax? Would the fact that they'd have taken little time to think about it before telling me to fuck off make me less of a cunt for trying it on?
However, the ACA was supposed to reimburse MPs for expenses "wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred when staying overnight away from their main UK residence... for the purpose of performing parliamentary duties". Since Mr McNulty chose to live just outside his constituency, it is hard to comprehend how John Lyon, the standards commissioner, managed to conclude it was "necessary" and "reasonable" for him to have a second home just a few miles away. Why did Mr McNulty not live in his constituency, and save the taxpayer £72,000?
Why did he not just flush himself down his own toilet and save us a lot more?
The committee also said that since he did not claim his full second-home "entitlement", there was no loss to the taxpayer. Oh, but there was. The expense of running a second home was incurred only because Mr McNulty did not live in his constituency, which is just a 30-minute train journey from Westminster. That was his decision; why should the rest of us pay for it and put a roof over his parents' heads as well? This point was lost on the committee, made up of MPs who presumably thought it unexceptionable.
I think there's has been a misunderstanding about the concept of a jury of one's peers: thieves should not have their fates decided by fellow thieves, and likewise MPs accused of exaggerated or fraudulent expenses claims sure as fuck shouldn't be able to rely on their honourable or otherwise friends in Parliament to smooth things over.

President Blair and Prime Minister Broon.

Apparently Broon thinks Blair would make an excellent President, though perhaps not as much as the grinning mutation himself does. Still, given Broon's inverted Midas touch how's that going to work? Will his apparent keenness on Pres Blair screw it up so that someone else gets it or will it screw everyone who hates the idea by ensuring that Blair does? The obvious solution is not to have a President at all, but somehow I doubt that's going to even be considered.

UPDATE: 1 in 3 voters lick windows for fun. Sheesh.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Andre Agassi and crystal meth.

Who died? Nobody.

Who did he steal from to buy it? Nobody.

So why should we give a stuff what he chooses to put into his body? It might be stupid, but if so it's stupid that doesn't really hurt me except for all the tedious fucking legislation dreamed up by governments to fight the drug problem that creates additional aggro every time I get a plane somewhere. And frankly I blame the reaction to drug use rather than drug use for that. Besides, I admit to having a soft spot for Agassi because he's got less hair than I have.


... you're doing it wrong if this is what your people think.

statue of liberty
see more Political Pictures

Another green symbol under attack.

I can't recall when I first came across the problems with new eco compact fluorescent bulbs not working with dimmers and containing mercury, but it was a few years ago (and I have the interwebs to thank, natch). I do actually have some in the house, but only because they were freebies. I have to say that on top of everything else it's true about the crap light they give as well, which is why I have a cupboard full of incandescent bulbs that I decided to stock up on before the eco-tools persuade the Australian government to ban them altogether. So I'm glad to see the MSM making the same points, even if in the form of a blog.
After several years of using compact fluorescent bulbs, I've concluded that they don't last half as long as the manufacturers promised. Worse, I'm starting to worry about the mercury in them, particularly now that old-fashoned incandescent bulbs have been banned.

I recently heard from a man who knows a lot more about this than I do, having worked for years in heavy industry and specialised in the analysis of oil and gas samples. He points out that evaporated mercury got into the air conditioning at one of the buildings owned by the multinational company for which he worked (for reasons that I hope will be obvious, I'm not using his name).
"Spills were not noticed or cleaned up," he says. Over a year, roughly 80 people were permanently injured by mercury vapour. "Their teeth fell out first, then they got the shakes and malaria-type symptoms." It was months before the employer realised what the problem was and put things right.

This man was astounded to see mercury bulbs up for sale without a health warning. He points out that it's illegal to transport them by plane because of the high mercury content, and that it would have been illegal a few years ago even to sell the bulbs till the EU legalised them - at the same time as banning mercury-based thermometers.

"All I can say is that if you or your family have mercury bulbs at home," says my informant, "get rid of them. If you want to promote low energy bulbs, then go for LED bulbs."
And this is written by a reasonably dedicated greenie. Not so green, however, that he's buying LED bulbs yet. Like Al Jahom recently mentioned, LED bulbs can be as much as 30 quid. As with the lack of solar panels covering every roof, there comes a point where even the most die hard eco-friend won't install things that cost so much the potential savings are many years away. for most people loving the planet comes second to looking after your wallet.

Wrap up warm everybody...

... the Met Office reckon it's going to be a mild winter, no doubt because of warble gloaming, and on their recent performance it's probably best stock up on thermals and thick socks right away.

Anyone surprised?

No? Thought not.


Stern warnings.

Once again it's funny and uncomfortably close to the truth at the same time. And the picture is just gold.
MEAT-eaters are, at long last, to be treated like smokers, it has been confirmed.

Lord Stern, author of the UK government climate change report How Come You're Not Dead Yet?, said meat-eating must join alcohol and tobacco on the anti-social behaviour register and called for a massive increase in funding to make you feel like an utter shit, even in your dreams.

In advance of the Copenhagen summit on climate change he claimed that too many people had failed to grasp the implications of global warming and insisted that anyone who had cottage pie last night should be fired from their job, locked in a trunk and chemically sterilised to prevent them from corrupting as yet unborn vegetarians.


In one film a parent is seen lifting a ham sandwich to his mouth. As it nears his lips his child starts crying hysterically. When the parent moves the sandwich away from his mouth the child stops crying immediately.

The parent then moves the sandwich back and forth as the child cries and then stops crying in perfect synchronisation. The parent then looks into the camera, smiles knowingly and throws the sandwich in the bin.

And in another advert a child is shown being slowly roasted on a spit alongside the caption 'Oi! meat-eaters! Why don't you just eat your fucking kid?'.

Tom Logan, a pork enjoyer from Hatfield, said: "I am amazed it has taken this long."
Me too.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Less please.

The reason why it's so important for the majority of peaceful Muslims who just want to be able to practise their religion without any grief over it to stand up to the fundamentalists, as the BMSD will be doing in a few days, is because of fucknuggetry like this:
The global financial crisis, crippling drought and the Black Saturday fires that killed 173 people were all part of Allah's will to punish the "filthy people" of Australia, one of the men accused of plotting to attack Sydney's Holsworthy army base has claimed.
Perhaps he'd like to ask his god why Australia has weathered the financial crisis comparatively well (a recent return to Britain showed us that, as it says on the number plates, Victoria - or Australia - is the place to be), why recent rains are refilling some of the dams, and why the devastating bush fires only killed 173* - considerably fewer than was first feared and less than you'd expect from one largish airliner going down. He might also want to ask what Allah had against all the wildlife that got barbecued alive or smoked to death, whether the failure to actually build any new dams for some years has been a factor in the water shortage and, above all else, why Allah saw fit to allow those alleged to be planning to attack the Holsworthy base to be caught.

It's weird. How can a faith produce contemptible, hate filled nutjobs and at the same time moderate, reasonable
people who value freedom and secularism precisely because it means they can practise their religion in peace? Since the same happens in other religions it can't be Islam any more than this fuckwit is what he is because of Christianity or this guy and this guy because of Sikhism. I guess it's a people thing - while xenophobes and racists would love to believe otherwise arseholes, nutters and murderers unfortunately don't come colour coded or with a convenient religious identifying label.

* I don't want to minimise it, and I've seen some of the fire damaged area for myself and found it a little creepy and unnerving, especially at night. The words of this sick fuck are distasteful, no question about it, but the point is that if it's the act of a vengeful deity you have to wonder why we got off so lightly.

No steering for the wheels of justice.

Drink driving is one of those things that most people agree is probably not a good thing. There may be some debate over the ideal limit, and libertarians may even prefer to test the level of actual impairment rather than compare the quantity of alcohol detected to an arbitrary limit*, but I think it's safe to say that nobody really wants to people who are completely shitfaced to be driving cars. But if you don't think out all the law surrounding the issue with great care you can potentially end up with cases that make the law look... well, inflexible, unjust and stupid. Like getting banned despite an alcohol reading of zero for instance.
In February 2007, Mr Di Milta says he drove home from work to take his sick 11-year-old daughter Marisa to hospital. The girl was in excruciating pain after two lots of spinal surgery and Mr Di Milta admits to rushing home, driving at about 65 km/h in a 60 km/h zone.

Not far from his house, he was stopped at a booze bus, where he told a policewoman about his situation. She told him to get out of the car, but he drove off.

Half an hour later, while his daughter lay in hospital, Mr Di Milta returned to the booze bus, apologised to the same policewoman and took a breath test, which returned a blood-alcohol level of zero.

Mr Di Milta was charged with failing to stop at a booze bus and his lawyer later entered a guilty plea - allegedly without consulting him. A finding of guilt or conviction carries a mandatory licence suspension of two years.
So other than minor speeding to a degree that could also be achieved by a damn good tailwind Mr Di Milta's offence was a technical one. No doubt the law was designed in this way so that those who might consider evading the random tests by driving away from the booze bus are presumed guilty and punished to the same extent, the idea being to make it a waste of time driving off. Clearly that's not the case here since Di Milta not only returned to the booze bus but did so within such a short space of time that it's simply not credible that he'd have been over the limit at the first stop and had a BAC of zero when he came back. So what was he punished for? Failing to offer instant obedience to a police officer? I doubt that one's on the statute books and I also doubt that the cop was taking a vindictive attitude toward a clearly compassionate father put his daughter above obeying her instructions. I imagine there's probably a reporting procedure for drive-aways that she was expected to follow and she may well have expected that someone higher up would sort it out fairly. Like the court, maybe? If that was what the police woman was thinking I can't blame her because it's not an unreasonable expectation that courts are there to see justice done, but either because of the law or because nobody stopped to consider if charging Mr Di Milta was really in the public interest an injustice was done instead.
''No one asked me anything. The magistrate talked with the lawyer and my licence was suspended for two years,'' Mr Di Milta said.
Poor bastard. And insult has been added to injury.
When he returned to court to get his licence back this month, he could not answer a magistrate's question about how long it would take for a standard drink to leave his body to reach a zero blood alcohol reading.

The magistrate then ordered him to undertake a drink-driving course and that an alcohol interlock device be fitted on his car.
Why the hell put him through this? Why bother making him go through the indignity of having to have his car modified as if he was a recidivist drink driver? Why send him on a patently unnecessary course? Why even ask him the fucking question when the test he gave in relation to the offence for which he was banned came back with a zero alcohol reading?
''I thought I'd paid my price,'' Mr Di Milta, a chef, said. ''Why do I get punished for something I did not do? I'm not a drink-driver.''
Why indeed. Apparently the way the law is written may be part of it...
Traffic law experts consulted by The Age said that while Mr Di Milta could have possibly beaten the charge with a defence of necessity, a guilty plea meant that, under the law, the magistrate had no choice but to suspend his licence.

The necessity defence has been successfully run in several traffic cases. They include the case of a man who drove to the chemist to get his ill wife an asthma puffer and ignored a booze bus, only to return to it later and record an blood alcohol reading well above the legal limit.
... but you'd have thought that someone at some stage, either prosecutors or beaks at the original trial or at Mr Di Milta's more recent appearance, would have noticed that they're beating on the poor guy for a trivial technical infringement and that the punishment he's received goes way beyond what we might loosely call his crime.
Legally, magistrates can order people convicted of not stopping at a booze bus to take a drink-driving course, while a minimum six-month fitting of an alcohol interlock device is mandatory for those convicted.
'Can' order, you see, not 'must'. Their hands may be legally tied as far as the (pointless in this case) alcohol interlock device is concerned, in which case you'd hope that intellectual honesty would cut in and they'd be making waves up the chain to get the law amended, but the fact that they're forcing him to go on this drink driving course without any apparent justification for doing so makes it look like the real crime, the unspoken and unofficial offence, was failing to be deferential and obedient to authority. Since Mr Di Milta's insurance company will probably take a dim view of his conviction without taking any interest in the facts he can look forward to his punishment continuing for some time in the form of unnecessarily high premiums. In the quest for safer roads the wheels of justice just keep running this guy over. It'd be ironic if it wasn't so bloody outrageous.

* We've all seen those Police-Camera-Crash type TV shows from the US where suspected drunk drivers are made to stand on one leg or precisely walk along white lines or touch their nose while keeping their eyes closed. Compared to simply getting drivers to blow into a tube and nicking 'em if a light turns red the American cops look like they're working with stone knives and animal skins, but the truth is quite different. The roadside impairment tests are really rather clever at identifying drivers who have drunk enough to make them poorly co-ordinated and therefore unlikely to drive well. And there are two big advantages to testing impairment: first, a big guy who can hold his booze well might be less impaired than a two pot screamer who drank much less, yet with a hard blood / breath alcohol limit it could well be the guy who drank less who'd be under the limit and allowed to drive the rest of the way home. Secondly it would automatically pick up drivers who haven't had a drop but are impaired for other reasons - drugs, lack of sleep, medical reasons, whatever. When you take your driving test all that's being considered is your ability to operate a car safely, and those who can't are knocked back. The same thinking should be applied to road side testing. All that matters is whether I am safe to drive - if I'm not the reasons are pretty irrelevant.

Party like it's 1979 - again.

Winter of discontent, eh? That's how it looked back in February too. Christ, Gordon, at least Callaghan only had one.

All are suspected. All must be checked.

The latest phase in the Government's overbearing, nannying, risk phobia cum war on basic freedoms such as presumption of innocence has arrived. Even if your job doesn't involve working with kids they must still do kiddy fiddler checks to make sure you're not a nonce.
Employers will come under pressure to register staff with the Government's anti-paedophile database even if they have little contact with children, the head of the scheme has said.
Surprise surfuckingprise. The bastard's barely been in the job long enough for his arse to warm up his office chair, and already he's looking to massively extend his agency's remit and the database for which it's responsible. Eleven million people, almost 100% of which are entirely innocent of any child abuse - indeed,any crime - are on this egregious übercunt's computer and that isn't enough for him.
But Sir Roger Singleton, the chairman of the Independent Safeguarding Authority, said the scope of the database could increase significantly because companies would fear losing business if they did not have their employees vetted.
What? What? You think that they think they might lose business? You don't think that some of the farcical problems that have been reported in the past might balance that, even if it was true in the first place? What an utter crock of shit! I'd call this just a thinly veiled attempt to prep the entire country for the day when everyone will have to be on the database no matter what.
Sir Roger also disclosed that the sensitive information gathered about those on the database would be kept indefinitely, even if they left the relevant professions, because it could be useful for any subsequent applications.
Oh really? What a fucking revelation that is! You astonish me.
His warning raises concerns that hundreds of thousands of workers could end up having their backgrounds checked even though there was no obvious need to do so as companies insisted that staff be vetted to reassure customers.
Those with a criminal history could face losing their job if it prevented their employer gaining accreditation.
Then companies need to harden the fuck up and tell Sir Roger, the ISA, the Home Orifice, the government and both the Nu Laborg cock sockets and the Tory fuckwits that will no doubt be replacing them shortly, to go fuck themselves with the business end of a belt sander. We all know that the paranoia levels are such that it won't be those with just obvious paedo related offences on their records that will be affected, and it is neither right nor just that someone might be unable to get or keep a job because of some petty offence years before. But it will happen, you can bet on it. And this bastard wants nearly the whole workforce on his books?

Fuck him. Fuck him right in the eye.

More exaggeration?

About a week ago Dick Puddlecote and others blogged on the disparity between the estimated numbers of trafficked sex slaves being forced to work as prostitutes in the UK and the number that were found when someone actually bothered to look. In the way that Nu Laborg and its tame media usually do things an initial number of 71 grew to 25,000, and the actual number positively identified by the investigation was zip, nothing, nowt, nada, zero, nil, zilch, the middle of a donut. Now it looks like the dangers of spiked drinks may have been similarly overblown.
Widespread spiking of drinks with date-rape drugs such as Rohypnol and GHB is an "urban legend" fuelled by young women unwilling to accept they have simply consumed too much alcohol, academics believe.
Oooo, fuck. That's not going to go down well with the fems and the righteous All-Men-Are-Rapists mob.
A study of more than 200 students revealed many wrongly blamed the effects of a "bad night out" on date-rape drugs, when they had just drunk excessively.
Many are in "active denial" that drinking large amounts of alcohol can leave them "incoherent and incapacitated", the Kent University researchers concluded.
Young women's fears about date-rape drugs are so ingrained that students mistakenly think it is a more important factor in sexual assault than being drunk, taking drugs or walking alone at night.
The study, published in the British Journal of Criminology, found three-quarters of students identified drink spiking as an important risk – more than alcohol or drugs.
More than half said they knew someone whose drink had been spiked.
But despite popular beliefs, police have found no evidence that rape victims are commonly drugged with such substances, the researchers said.
Hang on. I once spent part of an evening wrapped around the bottom of the pedestal of the downstairs toilet, and despite hearing two of Pink Floyd's longer albums played in full on the stereo I was convinced I'd only been in there for twenty or thirty minutes. Shit! Someone must have spiked all that Guinness that I drank... or posshibly the half litre of Polisshh vlodka that I washeled the Guinninninnness drown with. Because obviously it couldn't possibly be as simple as the fact that I was completely off my dial.
Among young people, drink spiking stories have attractive features that could "help explain" their disproportionate loss of control after drinking alcohol, the study found.
Dr Burgess said: "Our findings suggest guarding against drink spiking has also become a way for women to negotiate how to watch out for each other in an environment where they might well lose control from alcohol consumption."
Co-researcher Dr Sarah Moore said: "We would be very interested in finding out whether the urban myth of spiking is also the result of parents feeling unable to discuss with their adult daughters how to manage drinking and sex and representing their anxieties about this through discussion of drink spiking risks."
Nick Ross, chair of the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, commented: "There is no evidence of widespread use of hypnotics in sexual assault, let alone Rohypnol, despite many attempts to prove the contrary.
"During thousands of blood and alcohol tests lots of judgement-impairing compounds were discovered, but they were mostly street drugs or prescription pharmaceuticals taken by the victims themselves, and above all alcohol was the common theme.
"As Dr Burgess observes, it is not scientific evidence which keeps the drug rape myth alive but the fact that it serves so many useful functions."
Quite. But it comes with a downside. Aside from the fact that getting sphinctered, shagging some stranger whose probably also half in the bottle, and waking up and crying rape the next morning belittles genuine rape victims, sooner or later some girl is going to be drugged for real and raped, and her case is going to be weakened too. And for what? A rumour that makes a convenient excuse that's caught everybody's imagination and spread like wildfire. How does that do anyone any favours?

I must be stoned.

At some point I've taken a heft amount of something mind altering, that's the only explanation for this.
She may be fictional but Tinkerbell has been named as the first 'honorary ambassador of green' by the UN.
Don't take drugs, kids. They're overrated, because as trips go this is shit - nothing weird and wonderful, just stupid and banal.

H/T the feline audit department.

Genuine environmental tragedy.

Let's stop worrying about CO2 and the prospect of the sea level rising in the next 100 years much the same as it did in the last 100 years when this sort of thing is happening. And no, I'm not bothered just because that's a shitload of petrol being wasted that could be used to blat my car along the Great Ocean Road this summer. I'm bothered because warble gloaming has been sucking all the publicity oxygen out of environmentalism so for many people the only issue is the poster child of the past three decades: carbon bloody dioxide. That oil's been leaking for weeks and they're comparing it to the Exxon Valdez, but as far as I know the MSM in Britain have only just picked it up (my emphasis):
Millions of litres of oil are pouring into the Timor Sea from a well that ruptured more than two months ago, according to environmental campaigners.
Check the date on that Times article - 24th October. I remember when the Exxon Valdez ran aground, and I remember the media went batshit crazy about it right away. But of course twenty years ago CO2 wasn't the bugbear it's become in more recent times, and the people most likely to give a shit about it were, well, green* kids like me. But still, it was a big enough event that I stopped worrying about carbon dioxide and warming for a while to worry instead about the Alaskan shoreline and local wildlife.

And this is the big difference. With warble gloaming the reliance is on computer models to predict how much warming there'll be, and other computer models to predict what other climate and weather effects that will have, and other models for social and economic effects. But you can put anything you like into a climate computer model and there's no guarantee that it accurately reflects reality, particularly with something as complicated as the climate. How do all the factors interact? We just don't know enough so the models have to make assumptions. There's simply no choice. In turn that means that any work based on them is in turn based on those assumptions, and if they're wrong the whole lot is as worthless as a computer model of a planet's orbit would be if they'd used an assumed, and wrong, value for G. When some cunt cuts down a rain forest you don't need to fuck about with computers when you can simply go and count the tree stumps and dispossessed orang-utans. With the Exxon Valdex or the Montara rig you can map the size of the oil slick and measure the speed and direction it's drifting and make a reasonably precise estimate as to how much is going to end up where. With warble gloaming everything is based on an assumed positive feedback, the value of which is not known and which, for all we know, may turn out not to be positive after all.

So when deforestation that can be measured directly and seen for oneself occurs, especially if it's cut down to grow biofuel crops, or if the media fail to make noise about an oil slick that they'd have had fits over two decades earlier, but people still bang on about an unproven effect of a trace gas that feeds plants, forgive me for getting hugely fucked off.

* In more than one sense.

Gun ban working out well then, is it?

Gun crime has doubled in a decade.
Offences involving firearms have increased in all but four police areas in England and Wales since 1998, figures obtained by the Tories reveal.
One part of the country has seen the problem increase almost seven fold as the availability of guns, and criminals' williness to use them rises.
The number of people injured or killed by a gun has also doubled under Labour.
Fuck me, who could possibly have seen that coming? I mean, taking guns away from the law abiding was bound to make the criminals stop using them too, wasn't it? In all fairness how was the government supposed to know that the criminals would carry on using guns even though it was clearly illegal? Well, allow me to quote extensively from one of my favourite books.
[Vimes] remembered Findthee Swing. A lot of it was history. The revolt would have happened with Swing or without him but he was, as it were, the tip of the boil.
Swing... started in the wrong place. He didn't look around, and watch and learn, and then say, 'This is how people are, how do we deal with it?' No, he sat and thought: 'This is how the people ought to be, how do we change them?' And that was a good enough thought for a priest but not for a copper, because Swing's patient, pedantic way of operating had turned policing on its head.
There had been that Weapons Law, for a start. Weapons were involved in so many crimes that, Swing reasoned, reducing the number of weapons had to reduce the crime rate.
Vimes wondered if he'd sat up in bed in the middle of the night and hugged himself when he'd dreamed that one up. Confiscate all weapons, and crime would go down. It made sense. It would have worked too, if only there had been enough coppers - say, three per citizen.
Amazingly quite a few weapons were handed in. The flaw, though, was one that had somehow managed to escape Swing, and it was this: criminals don't obey the law. It's more or less a requirement for the job. They had no particular interest in making the streets safer for anyone but themselves. And they couldn't believe it was happening. It was like Hogswatch everyday.
Some citizens took the not unreasonable view that something had gone a bit askew if only naughty people were carrying arms. And they got arrested in large numbers. The average copper, when he's been kicked in the nadgers once too often and has reason to believe that his bosses don't much care, has an understandable tendency to prefer to arrest those people who won't instantly try to stab him, especially if they act a bit snotty and wear more expensive clothes than he personally can afford. The rate of arrests shot right up, and Swing had been very pleased about that.
Admittedly some of the arrests had been for possessing weaponry after dark, but quite a few had been for assaults on the Watch by irate citizens. That was Assault on a City Official, a very heinous and despicable crime and, as such, far more important than all these thefts that were going on everywhere.
It wasn't that the city was lawless. It had plenty of laws. It just didn't offer many opportunities not to break them. Swing didn't seem to have grasped the idea that the system was supposed to take criminals and, in some rough and ready fashion, force them into becoming honest men. instead, he'd taken honest men and turned them into criminals. And the Watch, by and large, into just another gang.
Night Watch - Terry Pratchett
Not much to add to that except to wonder if art is imitating life or the other way around.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: "It is misleading to compare figures for 2007 / 08 with those from 2002 and before, due to changes in recording practices.
"There has been an 11 per cent fall in gun crime since 2005 and provisional figures for firearm offences recorded by the police show they account for 0.2 per cent of all recorded crime."
Oh, do fuck off and come back with a new excuse.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Mixed vegetablists.

On the one hand we've got a pair of architects explaining that in order to save the planet we'll need to have pets we can eat such as rabbits and guinea pigs instead of fellow meat eaters such as cats and dogs (glossing over the fact that in some parts of the world cats and dogs are eaten anyway). On the other hand we've got a political economist saying that in order to save the world we must all become vegetarians (and incidentally lecturing President Obamessiah on the need for him to attend the alarmist talking shop in Copenhagen). Despite the fact that they're not climate scientists they are dignified with terms such as 'climate expert' simply because they're on message about warble gloaming.

Okay, first off pets we can eat would not be pets. The word is livestock, and we have that already. Second, the Vales based the comparisons on vehicles doing a very fucking modest 10,000 km per year. That's barely 6,000 miles, or less than half my average annual mileage was in the UK. What other figures needed to be viewed through a filter of massive fucking optimism (or pessimism for all we know) to get the answer that Mr Whiskers' carbon pawprint (fuck, I can't believe I've even typed that) is a little larger than a VW Golf and Fido's is much greater than a Toyota Land Cruiser. Third, as pointed out be a commenter on another blog (might have been WUWT), if the Vales are actually right an alternative view would be that personal transport is no big deal because the carbon footprint is less than that of a small domestic animal. This has been blogged extensively elsewhere, so I don't need to add more on this pair of know-it-all, authoritarian, happiness haters except to note that they're rather off message saying we can have edible pets when a renowned authority says we should have no meat at all.

Nick Stern - or Lord or Baron or whatever if you absolutely must - is banging the same drum but for two legged carnivores rather than our four legged friends. No doubt he's giving Paul McCartney wet dreams. Look, fucknuckles, if you seriously think people are going to start asking about the 'carbon content' - which, since everything we eat is some form of carbon based life, is a scientifically illiterate term - of their food in increasing numbers when believing in warble gloaming is now on a par with believing in ghosts and 13.5 billion year old invisible friends, you need your head looked at. You've based all your work on a presumption and if that turns out to be incorrect everything you've worked on and said on the issue is invalidated, not to mention the damage you may be doing to the farming industry may come back to bite you in the balls. I would take your pontificating far more seriously, or at least with a pinch more respect, if you had the stones to say this loud and proud yourself. The dishonesty in warble gloaming science - refusal to release data so results can't possibly be independently verified, ignoring of contrary evidence, failure to be open about the uncertainties and keeping quiet about work based on assumptions - is part of what turned me from a believer into a sceptic.

I really am getting fucking tired of hearing this shit over the past thirty or so years, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I was taken in by the predictions and assertions when I was a kid but three fucking decades on they still haven't changed the music. We mustn't have meat or meat eating pets because cows fart and burp plant food poison into the sky, we mustn't drive because our cars have less impact than our pets make the Earth weep bloodied tears, we mustn't generate electricity by burning anything because of the carbon monsters it releases, by nuclear fission because we'll all glow in the dark, by tides or wind power because it's shit it hurts birds and fish**, or by solar because it ruins the desert.

Okay, cunts, what the fuck will you still allow us to do?

Three fucking decades of shit predictions after which the world hasn't fucking warmed, the song is still going and some of these people are making a fucking fortune out of the rest of us. I'd laugh if I didn't feel like battering someone to death with a packet of frozen Quorn.

Fuck the lot of 'em. Fuck 'em hard and fuck 'em sideways with a broken cricket bat.

UPDATE: Usually I don't go a bundle on Wikipedia vandalism but every now and again there's something appropriate to the moment.

* Yes, some species are endangered but obviously nobody would eat those except possibly to annoy people like Nick Stern.
** That'd be be penguins and flying fish, obviously.

Things I still don't get about Australia - No. 13

What is it with rubbish collection here? There's a tip/recycling centre about 20 minutes drive away that is either free or inexpensive depending on what and how much we're dropping off. We have a pair of 120 litre bins that are provided to all local rate payers, and for a couple of bucks a week per bin we could double up to 240 litres (or reduce to 80 and get a small rebate). One bin is for rubbish and the other is for assorted - i.e. unsorted - recyclables. Seriously, we don't do any separating beyond what can be recycled and what can't, so all paper, cardboard, tins and plastics with a recycle logo just get rinsed out if necessary and chucked into the same bin, with everything else going into garbage bags before being put in the other bin. Nobody gets their cock in a knot and insists the bins are put out in the morning rather than the night before, nobody talks about fines if it's a bit full and the lid doesn't quite shut all the way, and nobody insists it's in a particular place as long as the robotic arm on the truck can reach, which is a fair way (vid - not our council but similar machines). And both bins are emptied weekly, and we don't have to do anything other than take 'em out the night before the bin men 'garbos' come round. Some places even empty rubbish and recyclables in the same vehicle.

I mean, how backward is that? Apart from the robot arms on the vehicles and recycling some stuff that's like where rubbish collection was in Britain 25 years ago. How long is it going to take them to work out that the modern way is to charge more, make householders sort out the recycling into a random number of bins depending on local council area, which might then get mixed up again on collection anyway, and then collect only half as often so people just get more bins, the bins stink, get fly blown and attract vermin? Hopefully a very long time, because being where the UK was years ago is rather better than being where it is now. Backwards, my arse - it's the UK that's been forwards in going backwards towards stinking streets in summertime, so really what I don't get is why Australian councils can provide a service that fewer than half of UK councils can manage these days. I can't believe that the kind of people in local buggerment government are vastly better, so what have we got here that Britain hasn't?

Monday, 26 October 2009

Keeping 'er indoors happy - an update.

Seems some think that everything will be made okay if they just employ each other's spouses. I think a lot of people are missing the point here. Parliament is not supposed to be some kind of swingers' party where all the car keys go into a bowl but regardless of who goes off with whom it's the taxpayer who gets fucked. If the significant other is right for the job and pulls their weight it shouldn't matter that they work for their own partner, so working for another MP wouldn't be necessary (wouldn't be prohibited either of course). If they're crap they shouldn't be working for any MP, end of. The test is competence and value for money, and as long as an MPs' constituents are getting that there is no problem. If they think the MP is just hiring family at bloody good rates just to stuff the odd envelope and reply to a few emails - or in the infamous Conway case, apparently fuck all - they might be forgiven for thinking that the venal little shit is just milking the system by adding to the family or couple's collective income.

The thing is that MPs and their spouses are making a rod for their own backs here. I'm sure that if it was a handful employing family and they appeared to be doing the job okay there wouldn't be much made of it. But with the expenses scandal highlighting what a bunch of greedy cunts they are and nearly a third of them employing spouses (might be more if sons, daughters and siblings are added - not sure) it just looks like another piss take. Is it remotely credible that all MPs employing spouses in various roles interviewed a range of candidates and all 200+ found that their own spouse was best suited? I can't help thinking that if Douglas Carswell's and Daniel Hannan's Plan is ever implemented then the open primary selection of prospective parliamentary candidates along with the right to recall wayward MPs will go a long way to solving the problem. Candidates who seemed untrustworthy wouldn't be selected to contest seats and MPs who proved untrustworthy would be recalled and probably lose their seats. A term or two of this would ensure that any spouses on the payroll would most likely be doing the job and deserve to be there. Failing that then all MPs' staff should be centrally advertised and recruited by the House of Commons itself, and MPs would be assigned researchers, secretaries, office managers, whatever from a central pool and if spouses want to apply then let 'em. It might be necessary to select from geographically similar areas of the pool so that the MP for Truro doesn't end up with staff who live no closer than Sunderland, and that would obviously tip things in the favour of any spouses and rellies in the pool. It might be also be necessary to allow MPs the right to reject staff after a trial period (or vice versa), and since that would also shorten the odds it should be allowed as long as it doesn't look like they're just going to keep rejecting people until they get the one they want. But if Mrs Jones ends up working for Mr Jones MP by random lot then it shouldn't be a big deal. After all, most of us think a number of them are nailing the secretaries anyway.

More please.

Via Guido who says
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown leads these dangerous radicals.

My 2¢ is that Yasmin Alibah-Brown may write some shit from time to time but I have a great deal of respect for her and the rest of the BMSD for this. I feel that more Western Muslims standing up for freedom, liberty and a little live and let live will do a lot to counter not only the porn using, dope smoking, hypocrisy ridden pisshead Andy Anjem Choudary and the other headcases wanting Sharia law in the UK, but also the intolerant xenophobes of the BNP. I very much hope they get a load of support, and that the more rabid sections of the main stream media report on it.

Love the slogans, by the way, though I have a couple of minor points to raise:
Laugh At Those Who Insult Freedom, They Are Very Silly People
They can also be very dangerous people, and we forget that at our peril. I'm not just thinking about Muslims here - Western governments have a lousy track record in that department, and I'm sorry to say I stopped laughing and started swearing about it a while back.
Free Speech Will Dominate The World, All May Speak Their Minds

Liberal Democracy Will Rule The World, Freedom Is Here To Stay
Noble sentiments. Let's hope, and pray if that's your thing, that we all live to see it.

When did journalists become so forgiving all of a sudden?

There's an article in The Times about pay cuts when the going's tough. Interesting, but what caught my attention was some incredible soft handling of MPs, their salaries and the piss taking that made so many headlines.
[There is an] emerging idea that certain people in certain professions don’t deserve to be paid much, if at all. This group appears to include most of those in the creative industries: writers, painters, musicians and journalists whose work the general public seems to have become accustomed to consuming free on the internet.
Okay, with you so far. Just because it's not 9 till 5 doesn't make it no working. I'm sure some people in those groups put in a hell of a lot more than 40ish hours per week and don't get a steady income, so I don't have any issue with people in those groups earning what they can out of their work. And yes, I agree that it certainly is work.
But since the MPs’ expenses crisis, politicians seem to have joined this unhappy band, with David Cameron propounding the idea by announcing that he will freeze MPs’ salaries and save £5.5 million a year by abolishing perks such as cheap grub and booze at the Commons.

A move that might go down well with the tabloids, but ultimately gimpy...
Hang on just a mo. What's 'gimpy' about it (and isn't the term a bit un-PC for The Times)? Yeah, okay, it smacks a little of dog whistle politics, and if the implication is that Cameron is saying it to get a few more votes on the back of the expenses scandal I'd be inclined to agree. But still, a penny saved and all that - is Parliament such terrific value that there's no justification for reducing its cost by £5.5 million? Look at is as an employer-employee relationship where the taxpayers, being the payer of the wages and associated employment costs of the 646 MPs, are the employers and the MPs, being the recipients, are the employees. Don't the employers have the right to want to keep overheads down? Don't they even get a say?

Apparently not according to the author of the article, Sathnam Sanghera, who gives four reasons why Cameron's proposal is, as he puts it, 'gimpy'.
(a) adding 20 pence to the cost of Peter Hain’s Monster Munch in the Commons canteen will make no difference to Britain’s balance sheet
Being 2 and a bit trillion in the red this is literally true, but also quite besides the point. Why the fuck should the taxpayer be subsidising the bastards? Let's remind ourselves again who pays whose wages... yes, that's right, taxpayers pay - and ultimately at gunpoint - and the MPs who are supposedly in public service get to dictate the terms and put the squeeze on for even more money so they needn't pay full whack for their meals and booze. The reason why it should end is because the taxpayers who fund the fucking place never gave their approval for subsidised nosebag to begin with. Look, if an employer chooses to subsidise the employees' cafeteria that's fair enough, but in Westminster it works the other way around. Sorry boys and girls, but it's way past time for that to end. We should be telling you what your perks are and how much they're worth, and you either suck it up or fuck off and find something else - welcome to our world.
(b) it is right and proper that the people who run the country, our elected representatives, should be paid as much as people who run companies
Right and proper, is it? Balls. The second you start with that attitude you guarantee piss taking. Not immediately perhaps but you're fostering a culture of entitlement rather than earning and somewhere down the line you'll find yourself with your trousers down and gripping your ankles while balancing an ashtray on the back off your head. If MPs do a good job then fine, pay 'em well. Measuring that might not be easy but I'd suggest that mass over claiming of expenses probably rules an MP out of consideration for fucking starters. Let me put it another way, Sathnam: do you expect your bosses at The Times to pat you on the back if you were ripping them off on your your expenses and got caught? If so you've either got one of the best jobs in the world or you're fucking dreaming, because it's been a fucking sacking offence everywhere I've worked. Assuming we're talking about one of the MPs who remains untainted by the expenses scandal we should still consider whether they're just lobby fodder that rock up to the party line and never put a toe beyond it. Worth £65 grand? Do me a favour - blindly obeying the whips can be done by any tool with a room temperature IQ who'd be happy to do it for minimum wage. Parliament is there to hold the executive to account and in recent years it's done a pretty piss poor job of it, and the less said about those occupying government positions the better. Don't tell me it's right and proper for those clowns to make as much as people who run companies when the latter are rewarded for performance, not for simply showing up. Yes, I know there are exceptions and some true fuckwits end up promoted way beyond their competence, but shareholders generally put with it only for so long before demanding a rolling head or two where as MPs are pretty much fireproof for at least a term at a time. Bring in the the ability for constituents to recall their MP and we can talk money again. I'm fucking dog sick of hearing all the whinging that they deserve as much as private sector company heads and that the 'right sort' of people won't be attracted to politics if the money isn't right. If they really expect us to believe that then where's the mass exodus from SW1? They're all still there instead of running companies so either pay and conditions are okay or there's a tacit admission that they're not the right people in the first place.
(c) if MPs were paid properly in the first place, the expenses scandal wouldn’t have happened
Firstly, see above - if they think they're worth more and would get more in the private sector then why aren't they in it? Besides, between the candidates who stand for each seat and all those that contest their party's candidacy there must be at least a couple of dozen 'applicants' for every seat in the House of Commons. In other words there are well over fifteen thousand people willing to do the job for the money that's on offer now. Normally jobs that have no trouble attracting that many applicants aren't thought of as being considered underpaid.

Secondly, let's get back to that point about expenses again. I know I'm going over ground a second time here but expenses are for, well, for expenses incurred in doing the job. In other words if an MP has to spend exactly ten grand of their £65K salary on goods and services that are all work related and that they would otherwise not have had to buy then they can claim exactly ten grand. The purpose is to reimburse them for legitimate expense incurred in their line of work so they're not out of pocket as a result, okay? It is to make sure that they still get paid £65K net after the expenses of being an MP. It is not, repeat not intended to be a fucking top up salary. Anyone who can't or won't grasp that incredibly simple premise is demonstrably unsuited to be in Parliament.
(d) if things continue in this vein only the independently wealthy, like Cameron, will be able to afford to go into politics. Indeed, we seem to be heading inexorably back to the 18th century, when art and government were something an elite did for amusement. Depressing.
Not as depressing as reading that horseshit. As I've just explained, expenses exist to reimburse MPs for legitimate expenses incurred, right? Is anyone proposing an end to that and suggesting instead that MPs pay for travel, accomodation, running a constituency office etc out of their salaries? No, of course not. What's being said is that claiming for duck houses, moat cleaning, the world's most expensive cleaner and a second home while you're being put up in your sister's spare room is not a fucking legitimate expense. Yes, I know not all of that was paid and some of it has subsequently been apologised for (not all fucking paid back though) but I'm only giving some of the more egregious examples. Bottom line, reimbursement for legitimate expenses incurred as part of an MP's job should continue as before, and as far as I know almost nobody is seriously suggesting otherwise. We all just want the piss taking to stop. That being so what the fuck is all this crap about only the independently wealthy being able to enter politics? If you're claiming and being reimbursed for genuine expenses then the job still pays 65 thousand pounds. If you can't live on that in Britain today you can plenty of lessons from millions who are able to make ends meet with a fucking sight less. Sure, you probably won't join the ranks of the mega wealthy who have endangered species for decoration and enjoy caviar and Cristal at every meal, but I'm not at all sure we want people with that ambition in politics anyway. If that's your ambition then bugger off and do something honest instead of politics, like dealing arms or smuggling drugs or something. But if a life in Westminster is what you want then cut your coat according to your cloth and get used to £5 fizzy piss on special at Asda.


Not long ago I took the piss out of Apple for claiming infringement over Woolworths in Australia for having a logo that was vaguely apple-y but really quite unlike the Apple apple, and basically said how ridiculous it was.

Sorry Apple, I take it all back now that I've read this.
A Harry Potter themed dinner at her home in West London has been banned by Warner Brothers, because they say it infringes its copyright.
Oh, do fucking behave. She's not setting up a rival theme park, you pointlessly litigious tools, it's a dinner party at her fucking house for Christ's sake. She's not feeding off your backs or J.K. Rowling's books, right? She's not making money off it either. So what the fuck is your problem? You're quite happy for everyone to rock up to bookstores, signings and movie premieres dressed up as wizards, so apart from the fact this one doesn't involve Warner Brothers what's the difference? You going to lose any DVD sales from it? Is it going to damage ticket sales for the last couple of movies? Will it put people off buying the merchandising? Frankly I can't see how, and there's the off chance that there may be an attendee or two who has so far dodged the hype and they might have enjoyed themselves enough to check out the films. It's a bit sad maybe but it's a bit of harmless fun that can't possibly hurt your brand, unless of course someone acts like a spoiled, petulant child and fires off a cease and desist type letter wailing 'waaaaaahhhh nofair nofair it's our name ours ours ours ours ours we don't have to share it and you can't make us nyer nyer nyrer!' You see if that happens some people will think that you're a bunch of over-bearing litigation happy twats and spend their money elsewhere.

I wonder when the next Bond film is out?

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Keeping 'er indoors happy.

The Telegraph reports that MPs wives are revolting, er, against the coming ban on parliamentarians being able to employ spouses and family members, and suggests that this may end up watering down the restrictions if they get their way.
Scores of MPs among the 201 who currently employ spouses or relatives have protested amid predictions of a mass revolt on the floor of the Commons when Sir Christopher’s final recommendations are debated. Others have threatened legal challenges to any ban.
A Whitehall source said it was expected that some sort of compromise deal would be thrashed out because the protests had reached such a “serious” and “potentially damaging” level.
The source added: “The ban on employing family members is proving to be by far the most incendiary of all the Kelly plans.”
I'll fucking bet it was. This must be a real money spinner for some and the potential for abuse of this privilege has been known about for a long time. Christ, way before the big expenses scandal, when the scale of that particular piss take was still only suspected rather than known, politicians were getting it in the neck for paying generous tax funded salaries to spouses and children for little or no work, and rightly so. I have no problem if an MP employs a family member who is (a) able to do the job and (b) actually does it but this was a licence to pay wives, husbands, sons and daughters thousands of pounds a year for opening a few envelopes now and then. The Derek Conways of the world deserve what they fucking get and it's naive to think that they're the only ones.
One possible solution is to ban new MPs from employing family members but to permit existing employment arrangements to continue – the same policy as adopted by the European Parliament after this year’s elections in June.
Another option is to impose the ban on new MPs and phase out existing deals over a period of years – although this would entail generous taxpayer-funded “transitional payments”.
Spouses who are among the protesters include Eve Burt, wife of Alistair Burt, the deputy Conservative chairman, who has worked for her husband for 27 years and is currently his office manager/executive secretary on a salary of £33,500. She has said: “How can you make a bunch of people redundant who’ve got contracts?”
Look love, you don't get to keep your job if hubby loses his seat, right? If you want something more solid fuck off down to Office Angels or something. Still, rather annoyingly she's made a pretty good point. It's never going to be a good idea to rip up or amend contracts unilaterally and retrospectively, even if the person on the receiving end is a smug arsehole laughing all the way to the bank, which is more or less what I said about Fred Goodwin when calls came for his contract to be adjusted to suit Harridan Harperson and her kangaroo court of public opinion. But when the contract is public sector, as inevitably it is when an elected politician is using taxpayers' money to hire staff, shouldn't the public be involved as the ones funding the fucking thing?
One senior MP said: “There will be legal challenges to this if they try to enforce it.
“It can’t be legal to exclude a particular class of person from being employed in a particular job. Kelly would be well advised to have a transitional period if he is going to change the rules, or to abandon this altogether.”
Yes, I agree, though to be honest it's your collective greed and venality that's brought things to this point. If you want to blame someone Mr/Ms Unnamed Senior MP, then blame Conway and pricks like him, and the rest of your disHonourable friends who provided so many expenses related headlines recently.

Still, you're right that someone should not be excluded from a job because they're married or related to the person they're working for. If nothing else it could theoretically prevent the best person for the job from actually doing it if they happened to be a relative. Look, if an MP interviews a dozen people and it turns out their spouse or one of their kids or whatever is best qualified for the job then fair enough - no fucking about, just hire them and be done with it. But what if the contract, to use Mrs Burt's term, was awarded improperly, which is arguably the case if no one else was interviewed, no other applicants even considered and, quite possibly, the position never even advertised? If it was a contract to supply boots for soldiers or build a school or pretty much anything else in the public sector questions would rightly be asked: why was the contract just awarded instead of being put out to competitive tender and was there really nobody else who could do it.

Same goes for the other 200 MPs with family members on the payroll. I genuinely don't have any objection to it in principle because vast numbers of people work together with family in the real world. You can see that simply by picking up a Yellow Pages and counting how many businesses have the format "Smith & Smith" or end in "& Sons", and many thousands more will have family helping in an unofficial or unadvertised capacity. It would be natural, for example, if one spouse ran a bookshop and the other was an accountant for the latter to do the books for the former, and as long as they are qualified and do it properly where's the harm? The same should be applied to MPs, and if they were paying for office staff out of their own salary I'd say they could even do so without advertising just as my hypothetical book seller did. However, since the taxpayers has to cough up for an MPs staff salaries on top of what the MP already gets I think it reasonable that the taxpayers are assured that they're getting the best value for their money, and that means an MP advertising for and hiring the best people he can find rather than giving his wife 30 grand because she's good with her tongue and therefore can be expected to lick a fucking stamp now and again.

So, Mrs Burt, perhaps your employer and husband would like to show us a copy of the advert for the dual role of his executive secretary and office manager and tell us how many other applicants were considered, not to mention what made you more suitable. If he wants to discuss it only with the people of Bedfordshire North that's fine by me, but don't you and the other spouses/offspring on constituency payrolls just sit smugly on your contracts. Show they were awarded properly or take the consequences.

Faith - a user guide.

I'm not sure what you're supposed to be if you just don't worry about it.

H/T Skepticlawyer

You can say what you like only if we like what you say.

That is the message of Hater Pain Peter Hain after the fat glass eyed fuckwit - no, not his boss, the other one - finally got on telly despite his disgraceful attempts to prevent it. It's not helped by a poll saying that a fifth of people would think about voting for the BBC.
The Welsh secretary said: "The BBC has handed the BNP the gift of the century on a plate and now we see the consequences. I'm very angry."
And I'm sure the BBC are terror stricken at the righteous anger of a fucking satsuma.
The opinion poll carried out after Mr Griffin's appearance found 22% of voters would consider voting BNP in a future local, general or European election.
Two-thirds of the 1,314 people polled by YouGov for the Daily Telegraph dismissed voting for the party under any circumstances, with the rest unsure.
When asked how they would vote in an election tomorrow, the proportion supporting the BNP stood at 3%, up from 2% a month ago.
In other words, and to spell it out for that tedious cunt Hain, no practical difference. I'm no statistician but I'd have thought that a 1% rise might not be significant when pot luck says a random survey might catch a dozen or so more racist fucknuts than it did the same time last month. And anyway, what the fuck are you even worried about when a clear majority of two thirds said absolutely no fucking way? Are you just doing it to display your PC credentials and righteous anger? I wouldn't fucking put it past you but I admit that you might not have read on past the 22% might - that's might by the way, not fucking would - vote BNP headline. Or did you and you're also working your cock in a knot about this:
However, more than half of those polled said they agreed or thought the party had a point in speaking up for the interests of indigenous, white British people.
But if the 22% who'd think about a BNP vote is at all accurate then the majority of those who think the BNP have a point still wouldn't fucking vote for them.

And Hain? Blaming the Beeb? come on, it's an obvious mistake to assume that Fatty Fuckknuckle being on Question Time has anything to do with the poll results. Did you never come across post hoc ergo propter hoc? There's nothing to suggest that at al because the question was never even asked.
The poll did not ask whether their views were affected as a result of Mr Griffin's appearance on Question Time.
See? I'm just as able to point the finger of blame you and the Union Against Freespeech mongtards for harassing and bullying and attempting to silence the BNP to the point where they're starting to look more like victims and less like xenophobic cunts, and personally I think my idea is more plausible because you lot have been banging on about them with increasing hysteria and, in case you weren't aware, they got nearly a million fucking votes in the European elections not long ago.

Incidentally, that may sound like a lot but it worked out as 6.2% of the votes cast, and with only a 34% turnout that makes a back of the envelope estimate of a little over 2% of eligible voters actually casting a vote for the BNP. 2% again, just like the last poll said. Yes, this one said 3% but don't forget how many people are actually polled on these things. It seems usually to be between 1000 and 1500, so assuming the latter you need only 30 people to say yes for 2% and only 15 more next time to get up to 3%. That's a low enough number to happen by chance, so worry about it only if it stays at 3%. Though obviously don't worry much because if they get stuck at 3% you won't need to. Worry instead whether a majority of 12,700 is enough to see off a challenge from the Welsh nationalists who might think to say to the people of Neath that far from speaking for them you're more interested in silencing someone who at least claims to be thinking of them first.

UPDATE: This is an interesting read: BBC lynch mob proved BNP leader Nick Griffin’s best recruiters. Still not sure about how much effect the QT appearance had on the survey results but the point is again that bullying the BNP works for them, not against them.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

The will to live...

... is slipping away. Have we reached a plateau of stupidity combined with reflexive authoritarianism - which is the scary part here - or can things actually get worse?

Party like it's 1979?

Guest starring the grinning mutation and Bill Clinton's wallet.

Big tip of the Akubra to Old Holborn. Where does he find 'em?

Didgeridoo lessons in Britain.

Nick Griffin walked right into this.

The British National Party last night outlined plans for free didgeridoo lessons for Britain's aboriginal population.

Party leader Nick Griffin told a Question Time audience that anyone who had lived in Britain for at least 17,000 years would be given vouchers for a 10 week course on how to master the six foot long wooden trumpet.

He said: "To all those who have lived here for less than 17,000 years I would suggest that you go back to your own country and learn to play the Alphorn, the bagpipes or whatever second rate wind instrument is currently flavour of the month with your inferior, coffee-coloured society."


Roy Hobbs, an aborigine from Peterborough, added: "I don't necessarily agree with everything Mr Griffin says, but learning how to play Jerusalem on the didgeridoo is a white man's birthright."
As I commented on a bit of wall at the Ambush Predator's cave, bit hard for Griffin to talk about true indigenous Britons without going a fucking long way back in time to get past all the incursions and invasions that have gone on down the centuries. The fact he used the term aboriginal must have looked like an open goal to The Mash, and ridiculing the xenophobic twat for it does him far more damage than 300 anti fascists behaving just like fascists and the likes Peter bloody Hain attempting outright censorship.

H/T Al Jahom.
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