Friday, 31 July 2009
A departure from the normal format this evening.
I love football. However not as much as I used to, and a little less today.
I've not commented on the recent deaths of the two WW1 veterans, not that I don't care, I have boundless respect for them and their actions, but I knew nothing about them personally.
Bobby Robson's death today has left me feeling genuinely very sad. His Ipswich side were in their pomp when I was first exposed to football, and his England side were the first side I was old enough to follow with any sense of understanding during the '86 World Cup. The fact he managed to keep hold of his job after the disastrous '88 European Championships in the face of some shocking treatment from the media and then took the side to the semi finals in the Italian World Cup of 1990 stand as a testament to his determination.
Whenever a public figure dies the tributes come 'pouring in' and Robson is no different. What is different is the almost tangible feeling of admiration, affection and respect that these tributes betray. Here was a man who was held in the highest regard, the reactions of Ipswich Town and Newcastle United and their supporters are touching, but not surprising, given his long associations with both clubs. What is just as touching have been the reactions of PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, FC Porto and Sporting CP Lisbon where he spent less time but left just as big an impression.
Robson played a big part in the development of figures such as Jose Mourinho, Ronaldo (Luís Nazário de Lima) and current Barcelona head coach Pep Guardiola. His influence in the European game is not perhaps as well understood in England, being overshadowed by his success in Italia '90.
In an era where unprecedented sums of money are changing hands for players who act in a fashion which would see them given ASBOs if they were 'normal people', Robson stands as a reminder of the virtues of quiet industry and respectful behaviour.
The game is a deal poorer for his loss.
Thursday, 30 July 2009
I've always said that a good idea is a good idea, it doesn't matter who has it, and this bloke's ideas are crackers:
A maverick mayor elected after promising to slash council spending, clear the streets of yobs and ditch politically correct services is the torchbearer for how towns should be run.There are a couple of things I would take issue with, I think he's fallen into the 'think of the chiiiildren' trap. Not that Children's Services in Donny probably couldn't do with more cash, but it's a bit of a cliche and cop out soundbite.
On his first morning as Mayor of Doncaster in South Yorkshire, Peter Davies cut is salary from £73,000 to £30,000 then closed the council’s newspaper for "peddling politics on the rates".
Now three weeks into his job, Mr Davies is pressing ahead with plans he hopes will see the number of town councillors cut from 63 to just 21, saving taxpayers £800,000.
Mr Davies said: "If 100 senators can run the United States of America, I can’t see how 63 councillors are needed to run Doncaster".
He has withdrawn Doncaster from the Local Government Association and the Local Government Information Unit, saving another £200,000. Mr Davies said, "They are just talking shops".
"Doncaster is in for some serious untwinning. We are twinned with probably nine other cities around the world and they are just for people to fly off and have a binge at the council’s expense".
The mayor’s chauffeur-driven car has also been axed by Mr Davies and the driver given another job. Mr Davies, born and bred in Doncaster, swept to power in the May election with 24,244 votes as a candidate for the English Democrats, a party that wants tight immigration curbs, an English Parliament and a law forcing every public building to fly the flag of St. George.
He has promised to end council funding for Doncaster’s International Women’s Day, Black History Month and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month.
He said, "Politicians have got completely out of touch with what people want.
"We need to cut costs. I want to pass on some savings I make in reduced taxes and use the rest for things we really need, like improved children’s services".
Mr Davies has received messages from well wishers across the country and abroad as news of his no-nonsense approach spreads. Now it’s your chance to spread this most sensible way to run a town council.
I'd also question the tougher immigration policy bit, I don't care who comes here as long as, a; they have a passport which actually belongs to them, b; has or gets a job, c; pays their taxes, d; has no access to public funds whatsoever until the end of an uninterrupted 6 year period of tax-receipted employment (that includes paying for their family's education and health care), e; behaves themselves whilst they are here, f; shut the hell up and bugger off if they are caught misbehaving instead of running to the courts over yooman rights, and g; don't make demands about the majority making cultural and social adjustments for them when they get here.
Anyhow, that aside, consider it spread, with a large thumbs up and a smile on my face. Bollocks to partisan politics, here's a man I can do business with.
Monday, 27 July 2009
ACPO set the fashion by being a private company that is somehow in charge of police, so who better than Asda to be in charge of the country's moral wellbeing?
A man who was prevented from buying a bottle of wine in a Sussex supermarket because he was with his 15-year-old daughter has criticised its policy.Right, but even if she was going to drink it at home, it's none of Asda's fucking business.
Mark Brown said he told staff at Asda in Brighton that the wine was for him.
But Mr Brown, who often shops with his daughter Madison, said he was told he could not be served the alcohol unless she had ID to prove her age.
A statement from Asda said it had been "erring on the side of caution in line with national guidelines".
Yes, but it's none of your fucking business. Why not be more cautious? Why not refuse to sell alcohol to someone who lives in a town where people are under the age of 18.
The company is one of several supermarkets using the new checkout policy in order to prevent individual members of staff from being prosecuted for selling alcohol to someone under age.
Yes, but he isn't under age. Fucknuts.
Richard Dodd, of the British Retail Consortium, said: "I think parents should actually be reassured to see retailers being so rigorous in their determination not to sell alcohol to under-18s."
Do you? Do you indeed. I think you should MIND YOUR OWN FUCKING BUSINESS. You righteous, preaching, self important little cuntwaft. Because the thing is, the guy that was buying the alcohol was over 18. Do you see?
It's very simple.
(Sorry, I try not to swear too much, but really, these fucktards should be lined up against a wall and be shot. And I'm virulently anti-death penalty.)
Saturday, 25 July 2009
Under the new scheme bouncers and security staff will have the authority to stop cars for checking and issue fines and penalty notices.
Hang on, I'll read that again. . .
No. I wasn't wrong, it did actually say that bouncers will have the authority to stop cars for checking (checking for what? Bald tyres? Red diesel? Drunk drivers? Guns in the boot?) and issue fines and penalty notices.
It's ok though because:
The Home Office says those using the powers have been vetted and trained.
This is the same Home Office who employed illegal immigrants to work for their own security teams.
The powers are granted by chief constables, and those who are accredited must undergo vetting and training and wear badges and uniforms approved by their local police force.
That makes me feel a whole lot better, a private company in the shape of ACPO will give other private companies uniforms and badges which will allow them to declare us offenders and fine us money.
That's private companies. Corporatism was one of the first steps Hitler took in his little adventure in the 30's. Get the big businessmen addicted with an unelected vested interest in government, and watch the opposition melt away, starved of funds and exposure.
I've always felt we've attracted a number of the tin foil hat brigade, I just can't work out if I'm becoming one of them, or if what they've been saying all this time has more credibility than I'd, well, given them credit for.
Doesn't matter, because it will all be fair and above board, nothing could go wrong, could it?
Parking attendants have told the BBC this means some tickets are issued when there is no real justification.
So who runs these parking enforcement officers?
Are they in the main local council employees, or are they subcontracted to firms like Serco and Crapita?
One said that every day he was forced to issue tickets that his management knew would be overturned.
"They don't care if they will be appealed, they just want the numbers," he said.
"The bosses tell you to issue tickets even when they know there is a fault in signage.
"Drivers are unjustly battered with tickets and if we don't do it we lose our jobs."
But it is all above board.
"If you hit or exceed the targets you get favours, swapping shifts, and most importantly, if you hit the targets you get overtime.
"People get fired for not reaching their targets."
So obviously there's no incentive to stick tickets on cars willy-nilly. That's fine.
But the British Parking Association (BPA) which represents companies who employ parking attendants said it was against ticket-targeting and was making efforts to combat the practice.
A spokesman said: "The BPA considers ticket target-setting totally unacceptable, and as a member organisation we strive to make sure that parking control is about improving the streets, and not making money."
That's fine then, if anything goes wrong the BPA will sort it out! We can all relax then. Nothing to see here, move on.
No really, move along, or that shaved gorilla wearing a ridiculous bow-tie will ticket you for loitering and then punch you so hard in the kidneys that you'll be pissing blood for a week.
And I would just like to point out that if you see any connection between the two stories above, then it marks you out as a nazi-racist-bigot, and probably a paedophile as well. So keep your mouth shut, prole.
I've been asking myself the following question:
Do I want a government with a Libertarian bias running through it, or do I want an LPUK government?
The only answer I can come up with is that I joined LPUK because I want a Libertarian government, I don't particularly care who provides that. LPUK are the model that reflect most closely what I would like to see, at present. If another party started displaying the qualities that LPUK demonstrate, then I would be delighted.
It is the nature of the policy that is important to me, rather than any particularly named party delivering it.
As unlikely as it seems, if Gordon Brown woke up tomorrow morning and said 'Wait up people, I've been thinking about this, we've got it all wrong and what we need to do is what these guys are up to', then I'd be delighted.
In a way we've seen this happen to an extent, and we may see it continue. Labour have started trying to sound a little like the BNP with all their (futile) talk of British jobs for British workers, although this seems more like a cynical attempt to stop the drain of Labour voters to the BNP rather than a real change in the policies which are driving them to the BNP's door.
The Tories have been at it too, after about 20 years of fairly fruitless campaigining the Greens are now finding that a version of their policy is finding favour in Tory central office. An attempt to reverse the party's fortunes? Quite probably. Will it be succesful? Who knows, we all know that governments lose elections, and it doesn't really matter what the Tories say between now and the general election, the buggins rule is in full effect. Interestingly the policy which seems to most closely reflect the wishes of their natural constituency is firmly off the menu, which is why UKIP look so strong at present. I believe the Tories would be stronger if they took up the Eurosceptic line again, and they may well do so if Brown is booted out after the conference season and Labour start to recover a little ground.
Do I want us to leave the EU? Yes. Am I bothered about whether this withdrawal is brought about by UKIP, LPUK, Conservatives, BNP or the English Democrats? Not in the slightest.
I guess the question I'm asking is 'Is it more important for US to be in power, or for us to influence and change those who are in power?' I think it is the latter, not that the former wouldn't be great.
Friday, 24 July 2009
I posted the following in the comments section, and reproduce it here as I was going to blog on this anyway, and don't see the point in writing it twice.
Twas always going to be a defeat, although I'm not going to pretend that 0.10% of the share doesn't sting a little.
However, at leat we had a crack and at least Tom had the cajones to stand up and do it. A few parties of similar size to us didn't give it a go.
Was Tom's age a factor? I'm afraid to say it probably was. It shouldn't have been, but this is politics. I wasn't exposed to any of the campaigning, but had I been up against us, the first thing I'd have done when asked about our policies would have been to gone, 'Libertarians? What, the 18 year old?' Harsh, but that's the way it works.
One of our greatest strengths; being untainted by the political class, is identitcal to one of our weaknesses, it means we have little experience in running an election campaign. It is only a lesson which can be learned with experience.
The news about a councillor resigning to join us is a very encouraging one, and perhaps give us an indicator of a strategy we should employ. (I'm assuming he's a councillor formerly with the Lib Dems rather than a former councillor who is leaving the Lib Dems - big difference).
I believe town, city and borough councils are the way to go early on, get good people good names on their own local streets. I would swap 1 MP for 10 Councillors in a heartbeat, as one councillor really can make a difference especially in a close NOC council, a councillor really can be accessible and really can generate a good rep for a party which would then be recognisable on a parliamentary ballot paper.
At the risk of labouring the point, I really do believe that the local level is the most important starting point, a good solid local level base is the foundation that a good MP is built upon. A good councillor will feed into the local MP so s/he really knows what is going on (that is of course on the understanding that a good councillor will actually give a shit what is going on on his/her patch) in their constituency. Strong, local and accountable representation is the best way to emasculate that palace of piggies sat on the Thames.
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
A junior school head teacher has defended the use of CCTV in toilet blocks in an
effort to deter vandals.
Len Holman, from Angel Road Junior School in
Norwich, said pupils had asked for the cameras to protect refurbished toilet
Really, what can you say about a society where people in authority think this is an acceptable way to carry on?
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
This is how authoritarianism is ushered in and personal responsibility is abdicated.
There was a story in the media over the weekend about a party in Farnborough, hosted by two teenagers in adjoining houses which got a little out of hand after being publicised on Facebook and resulted in around 50 coppers with a helicopter and dog handlers turning up to control the crowd of around 150.
1 copper for every 3 teenagers and a helicopter and some land sharks seems a little OTT to me, but that isn’t the point.
I will say that I love the Daily Mail, no-one does indignant righteousness like the Mail, if it involves the young, the police, alcohol and technology then the shrieking gets ramped up past 11 and well into 12.
It is no wonder in their article that young Jordan is ‘giving it large’ he’s the centre of attention and is loving it. Just like the Sex Pistols with Bill Grundy he’s going to say whatever he thinks is going to cause most controversy. I’ll bet he was actually quite relieved when the old bill turned up and sorted out his mess, he’s just a kid and what seemed like a wild old time in prospect perhaps didn’t seem quite so appealing when it dawned on him that it was his house and his stuff that was in the firing line.
It is the comments on the article that intrigue me most. They have in the dead tree version a section called ‘Straight to the point’ or something similar, and it is full of fantastic Blimpish bon-mots akin to ‘My grand-father spent many happy years in Africa shooting darkies, and old sambo was grateful for it. We should send them all back there.’
The comments on this article have a similar feel. Although their scope is much more diverse and representative of people in the county. They range from the almost Libertarian: ‘Make the hosts of the party pay for the police time and any damage done and it will certainly cure any further self promoters from doing it again.’ – You made the choice, you deal with the consequences.
To the predictable but incisive: ‘And the parents were where exactly?’
To the almost apologist: ‘I thought the police were meant to close parties advertised on facebook. looks like they messed up here!’ – Yes, it was the police’s fault for not calling around at 6pm, kicking the front doors in and shouting ‘don’t even think about it, sonny.’
To the mildly alarming: ‘In fact more control over facebook could help.’ – Yes, but by who? Daily Mail readers?
And the downright mad: ‘Time to get rid of the internet. It's far to dangerous. We survived long before it was around and will long after it's gone.’ And ‘ban the internet! its the only way to make britain great once again.’
To the barely literate ‘This world has lost all a control in the name of demcracy and freedom’
Ban the internet? What? Of course last year there was probably a similar story about party publicised on MySpace, the year before it would have been on a message board, a few years before that, it would have been by SMS.
Three predictable things: 1- Kids will organise parties when Mum and Dad are away. Sometimes they’ll get out of hand. 2 – It will make headlines because it is summer and silly season. 3 – The dead tree press and their righteous attack dogs will blame whichever medium of communication was used to publicise the event as the end of our civilisation.
Kids do silly things. Make them take some responsibility for themselves, learn that their actions have consequences, make them face those consequences. It’s all part of the learning process. Banning the internet and democracy because some kids got a bit pissed up and rowdy, well, it’s as OTT as the kids at the party, isn’t it?
Sunday, 19 July 2009
Turkey has today brought in a smoking ban in its bars, restaurants etc, etc. I'm glad to see that the problems of human rights abuses, censorship of the press etc, have been sorted out to make this such an important issue in the country.
In Italy, the northern city of Milan (a particular favourite of mine) has had a smoking ban for a few years now along with the rest of the country. The fines for breaking this ban are quite steep and it is adhered to. However, as we've seen in the UK, once one evil is removed, another great evil is selected for campaigning against. We must be saved, it is for our own good.
Nanny Beeb is reporting that:
Milan has banned the consumption and sale of alcohol to young teenagers in an effort to curb binge-drinking. Parents of children under the age of 16 caught drinking wine or spirits will be liable to heavy fines of up to 500 Euros ($700;£450).
And that is where the theory falls down. Under 16 and drinking wine or spirits? That's a fine for your parents. End of story. Now if that were the case in this country, the police would be out in force on Sundays, undercover in churches, waiting for the communion.
When I was a teenager, around 15-16, the pub visiting started in earnest. A group of us started. In one particular pub. Not because the licencee had a rather laissez-faire attitude towards the laws regarding the sale of alcohol, although he did. Not because we knew we could get served alcohol in there with the minimum of hassle, although we could. But because we knew the rules surrounding drinking in this establishment. 1: He wouldn't serve you spirits. Right out. Beer and cider only, it was his pub and if you didn't like it, you could piss off outside into the cold and rain. 2: Bloody behave yourself. If you didn't, you were out, never to return. 3: When he said you'd had sufficient, you'd had sufficient and you would say good evening and go home.
This landlord took the opinion that we'd be drinking anyway, and it was better to do it in an environment where there were boundaries and people looking out for each other, rather than a load of teenagers with no experience getting well and truly Flintoffed on the street. I was certainly looked well over 18 by the time I was 16, not an eyelid would have been batted had I walked into the off licence and picked up vodka and special brew, and then my friends and I could have sat on the recreation ground and got absolutely shitfaced. We didn't, we went to this pub (now sadly no longer) instead. I even recall serving police officers amongst the Friday night crowd (and it was only Friday nights when this happened) the local old bill knew the score.
Of course these days the old sod would have lost his licence, a good deal of money and probably his liberty. Us kids would probably have found ourselves sat in front of social workers and attending alcohol counselling classes. The irony is of course, that we learned a good deal more about how to handle and respect alcohol when in that pub than we would ever have by being forced to attend some 2 day course with a hard-hitting video and *gulp* role-play.
The police knew that we were in there, they knew that we were drinking, they also knew they never got called out to a fight, to a case of vandalism, they never saw an ambulance outside, and never had to scoop some barely alive wreck off the pavement at closing time. They also knew that to close this place down, where there were no problems, would mean that next Friday night, there would be kids getting pissed up on the Rec.
If you're going to prohibit the sale of alcohol to some groups, it makes much more sense to do it on the basis of attitude rather than age. But we can't do that. So it is age. And still people don't like it, they don't like the sale of alcohol at all, getting rid of tobacco was so easy, surely we could do the same again, with drink? But how?
First we must think of the Children, have they done this in Milan? Check.
However the Children cannot be held responsible. Someone else will carry the can. Is this in place in Milan? Check.
Excellent. Now we need some astonishing, unqualified statistic to make everyone throw their hands in the air. Do we have one of those?
A third of 11-year-olds in the city have alcohol related problems.
What? A third? Right, a little guessing maths. Milan is a metropolitan area with a population of 7.4 million. According to the CIA Factbook, 0-14 year olds make up 13.5% of the national population of Italy. So we'll assume that is a happy average for each commune, that means 999,000 kids below 14 in 'Greater' Milan. So to get a rough guess, let's assume that the birth rate has been constant for the last 14 years, that means around 71,300 11 year olds.
So you're telling us that 23,000 11 year olds have alcohol related problems? That is either bullshit, or the biggest collection of juvenile alcoholics in the world, ever. I doubt that a third of 11 year olds are piss heads in Milan. Or anywhere.
But the authorities are deeply concerned about the increase in consumption of alcohol by children as young as 11 in the country's industrial and financial capital.
Ahhhh, so the mere consumption counts as a 'problem', does it? What even in their own home? With their parents? Are the Carabineri to kick down doors and cart parents off for introducing alcohol to their kids in a responsible and measured fashion?
A national law banning the sale of alcohol to under-16s is only loosely enforced, as Italian families are used to sometimes giving young children a teaspoon of wine as a family party treat.
A teaspoon? Oh, how wonderfully twee.
In past centuries, Italian children would sometimes even be given wine to drink in preference to water which was often polluted.
No shit. Not just in Italy, shit for brains. We did it with beer and cider. On account of the fact that the climate has not often been warm enough to grow decent enough grapes for wine.
And here's the social engineering kicker. The one that tells you that all has, is and will be changing.
There has been a storm of protest by bar owners who refuse to act as alcohol police for young people.
But changing social customs mean that old easy-going attitudes towards consumption of alcohol in Italy will have to change. (Trans: But increasing political willy waving means we have to do something to justify our huge salaries, so we're changing this, and you'd better play ball, or else.)
It's not just us.
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
An 84-year-old activist questioned under the Terrorism Act while wearing an anti-Tony Blair T-shirt believes the powers are "persecuting innocents".
Well, yes. Difficult to pick fault with anything the old boy says there.
John Catt, from Sussex, was protesting outside Brighton's Labour Party Conference in 2005 when he was stopped and searched under the 2000 act.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission found his arrest unlawful.So, the IPCC said his arrest was unlawful, Sussex police's reaction?
The officer "believed in good faith that the stop and search was authorised by law".
Well, that's as maybe. Firstly, he was wrong. Secondly, where was the injury? Was anyone damaged, was anyone out of pocket, did anyone have property destroyed? No. Quite simply there was no need to make this arrest.
He was also put on the PNC with an 'of interest' marker. He was subsequently pulled over by an anti-terror unit on a trip to London when his car pinged on ANPR.
I posted the video the other day of the poor old boy being ejected from the Labour Party conference and getting similar treatment when he attempted to re-enter the building.
Alex Turner was arrested by Kent Police for being 'too tall' by all accounts (Cheers, OH).
A man was detained for taking a photograph of a police car.
Police confiscate crayons and toys at the Kingsnorth protest.
How many isolated incidents can we have before they cease to become isolated? I hate browbeating the police. I like them. I know more than my fair share of police officers, and those that I know would surprise me a great deal if they proved themselves to be anything but sensible, level-headed, committed individuals who want nothing beyond locking up bad guys.
Is it down to the target culture? Is it down to the politicisation of the senior ranks? Is it down to a small, but ever growing number of over zealous officers who want to exercise a feeling of power?
One thing that is clear, as these episodes increase and become more widely reported (the original article at the start of this posting is a lead story on the BBC down here this evening) trust in the police will erode. As trust erodes, more police officers will feel resentful, if not threatened. As that resent and threatened feeling expands, more people will be stopped, harrassed and slapped back into line, to prevent any action against the police on the street, and the erosion of trust is accelerated.
It must stop, and I'm afraid blood must be let. The officer that made the illegal arrest must lose his job. If he acts like that because an old man is wearing a T-shirt, will he taser a man for doing 10mph over the limit? Will he wrap his asp around the head of a shoplifter? Sorry, he has demonstrated he cannot be trusted with the authority given to him by US.
Senior officers must be called to account. It happens once, the Chief Constable gets a wrap on the knuckles and is told to make it clear this is not acceptable. It happens a second time, the C.C. finds his force subject to a review of all arrests under the Terrorism Act. It happends a third time, the sack. No pay-off. Gone. Take out the Inspector, Chief Inspector and Super if you have to. This ridiculous and insulting policing is just as bad as the old bent copper scenario. This is not why we have them.
Sunday, 12 July 2009
The following comes from Leg-Iron, and in case you haven't seen it, is as good a definition of Libertarianism as I think you're likely to get.
1) I am not a member of anything. I don't speak for the Libertarian Party and even if I join, I won't be speaking for the party because if they have any sense they won't let me near the reins of power. I like to press buttons just to see what they do. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, I'm not sure I want to join any club that would let people like me in. Joining something is, for me at least, a big decision. I once joined a union and that didn't work out too well, so I have to think long and hard before committing to any group.
2) This post has been sponsored by non-approved and soon to be illegal quantities of Glen Grant.
Right. This is what I think libertarianism means and it's not based on anything other than my own random thought processes. Party members are welcome to correct me.
There is some fear of the Libertarian movement among the big three parties. I base this conclusion on labels like 'xenophobic' and 'far right' and 'BNP-like'. They are scared. With good reason. So there is a lot of talk of 'libertarian=anarchist' and 'they'll just let everyone do whatever they please' and so on.
To an extent, yes. But it's not libertinism. You can do pretty much what you please but you must accept responsibility for your actions. There can be no 'it was my upbringing' or 'it was my culture somewhere else' or 'it's a fair cop, but society is to blame'. You did it, you deal with it.
So if you want to build an extension that looks like something from 'A Series Of Unfortunate Events', go ahead. If it falls over and smashes your neighbour's shed, you'll be liable. Not the planning committee. Not the builder. Not the architect. You. You will have to compensate your neighbour. If someone is hurt, you'll go to jail and pay compensation too. it'll take a few years to sink in, but once people work out that they won't get off with excuses any more, most will start to act with some responsibility.
Libertarianism does not mean the absence of law or the disbanding of the police. It means fewer and simpler laws that are easy to understand and follow. It means a policeman would give you a ticking off for dropping litter rather than fining you, taking your fingerprints and DNA and recording all your details on five miles of paperwork. He won't even need to ask your name. All he'll ask is that you pick up your own crap and deal with it yourself. Like they used to in the old days. He'll still have authority and if you want to kick off, he'll have the power to deal with that. But it won't be his automatic response and if you just pick up the crap, he won't even have to report it back at the station.
No targets. Also, no limits. If several months go by where nobody in an area causes a problem, the police don't need to make arrests. If a ruckus kicks off because some bunch of idiots want to clawhammer someone, the police can arrest them all. You are free to do whatever you want in Libertarianism as long as it hurts nobody else. Cause trouble and the proverbial ton of bricks comes into play.
Should you steal, rape, kill, or otherwise damage someone else, expect a long prison sentence. Prisons will have room for long-term inmates because they won't be occupied by people who grow a bit of weed for their own use, or shout a bit of abuse across the street. Sticks and stones, prison. Words, no real harm. Like the old days when the British were real people rather than the professionally offended infants they have been made to be now. Libertarianism, to me, is forcing the country to grow up. It's time, don't you think?
Pause and think for a moment. Recall the news you've read recently. How many complaints to the police, how many charges, how many court appearances, how many prison sentences can be described as 'SIr, Sir, the naughty boy called me a bad name'? The police are obliged to respond. The courts are bound by the law. They enforce something that real people grew out of when they were nine.
I don't agree with every Libertarian out there but that's not a weakness in the party. It's the point. People are individuals. If every Libertarian toed the party line, they'd be like the drones of Labour, Tory or Libby Dimmies. The party is forged on concensus, not blind obedience. I would never join authoritarian parites like the big three, the Greens, the BNP or even the Monster Raving Loonies because to do so, you must accept the manifesto as it stands . You cannot argue. No discussion is allowed. That's the rule book you signed up to, now follow it. Sod that.
Take drinking and driving. Some Libertarians maintain that there's no harm done as long as you make it home safely. I don't agree with that but I do think that drunk driving, as oppposed to driving over some arbitrary limit, is wrong and should be stopped. When you're in charge of a big metal box on wheels, capable of considerable speed, you increase the risk to others when you impair your own reactions and judgement. By a lot. It's not about how many milligrams of alcohol you have in you, it's about your ability to control your death machine.
Some people I know would be able to drive over the current limit with no problem. Others would not be safe to drive even under the limit. One, at least, isn't safe sober. So I would go for a test based on the individual's ability to control their vehicle rather than a breath test. A breath test treats us all as clones. We are not. First offence, lose your licence for a year. A second offence within that year, prison. No piddling about with points and re-education classes. But it's not based on milligrams in your blood, it's based on whether you have control of the vehicle you're driving. The risk is not to yourself. it's to other people.
With seatbelts, that's your problem. You don't want to wear a seatbelt, fine, it's you that goes through the windscreen in a crash, not me.
Speeding is not so clear. If your car does 90 and you're confident of handling it, and there's nobody about, off you go. If you're tailgating or cutting in or out, the hell with you and it's licence shredding time. On an empty road at 3 am, speed cameras are just silly.
Immigration. The love that dare not speak its name, as Oscar Wilde once said about something else entirely. My thoughts? I don't care at all. I don't care whether you're white, black, brown, green, blue, turquoise or puce. I don't care whether you're Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Church of the Militant Elvis, Satanist, Atheist, or even if you think the entire universe was sneezed from the nose of a being you call the Great Green Arkelseizure. I don't care. All I care about is '"Why are you here?"
If you're here to improve your life by becoming One Of Us, great. In you come. For a year at least, it might not be much improvement.
If you came here to sponge, then leave, or die of starvation. We are not feeding you.
To add to the quotes, here's a P.T. Barnum (I think). "There is no such thing as a free lunch".
Libertarian is not libertine. There is no racism or xenophobia. Nobody is forced to leave. Stay, follow the simple rules, you'll be fine. Your gender, race, religion or sexual preference is irrelevant, we don't care.
But libertarianism is not anarchy. There are stringent rules.
Just not very many.
Saturday, 11 July 2009
Former home secretary Jacqui Smith has admitted she quit the cabinet partly because of the expenses row over pornography watched by her husband.
Well, there's a surprise.
Ms Smith, MP for Redditch, said: "It's part of the reason I resigned." She added: "You become a person who is associated with these things."
Well, that's the end of the porn industry. Who wants her to be associated with anything, let alone *artistic* photomagraphs?
Friday, 10 July 2009
Fear not, the skills of problem solving, lateral thinking and sticking it to the man are still very much alive in our kids.
Children taking part in a study to measure how much exercise they do fooled researchers by attaching their pedometers to their pet dogs.
That'll teach the researchers to mind their own fucking business, won't it?
All is not lost.
A few points have driven to be surprised, puzzled and exasparated in equal measure. I shall cover them below in the vain hope that some common thread unites them.
Firstly, I've just finished watching the final part of this week's running Torchwood mini-series on Nanny Beeb. I was surprised that a programme with such a subversive story was aired on the channel. However I thought the ending was a little lame, and the message was clear.
For those who didn't see it, the story as it unfolded surrounded the arrival of the '456', an alien race who had visited Earth in the 60's and sneaked off with a dozen kids. Now they were back, demanding 10% of the planet's juvenile population. It transpired the aliens used the kids as a narcotic and they released a virus into Thames House to show what would happen if the Earth's authorities didn't comply. Of course the politicos and military after seconds of soul searching decided to comply. Our heroes in Torchwood had managed to covertly film the negotiations with the 456 and the Cobra meetings and threatened to go public. But they didn't. As the army kicked in doors and pinned angry parents to the floor as they spirited their kids away, the message was clear:
Don't even try and resist. There's no point, there's nothing you can do about it.
Nice. They could have done a lot better.
Secondly, there was an item on Nanny Beeb's news bulletin that followed about the recession, and it featured some stats about a brewery in Bedford, I forget which one. They make something like 40 million pints of beer a year, selling pretty much all of it in the UK, but their sales are falling and they could be in trouble.
Hang on. Aren't we being told that we're all drinking far too much? You can't step out of your front door without tripping over some 5 year old binge drinker, drunk and pissed up on booze.* What gives?
They must be buying it all from supermarkets, because a can of own-brand lager is about 0.003p and a bottle of water is £47. Or is it?
I've been checking the online big 4 supermarket websites, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury and Ocado/Waitrose. Let's see what a can of middle of the road own brand costs compared to a bottle of own brand still water.
Sainsbury Crown Lager - £1.14 p/litre. Sainsbury Caledonian Still Water - 47p p/litre.
Tesco Lager - £1.15 p/litre. Tesco Perthshire Mountain Still Water - 50p p/litre.
ASDA Pilsner - £1.54 p/litre. ASDA Eden Falls Still Water - 45p p/litre.
Waitrose Spanish Cerveza Lager - £2.28 p/litre Waitrose Scottish National Still Water - 55p p/litre.
So let's forget all this guff about beer being cheaper than water shall we? Ahh, but Wolfers, these kids are getting smashed on alchopops. OK, let's look at those prices, shall we (I'll take Smirnoff Ice, as not all retailers do own brands, but where they do, their equivalent's price will be included in brackets)?
Sainsbury - Smirnoff Ice - £3.08 p/litre (£2.50 p/litre).
Tesco - Smirnoff Ice - £3.82 p/litre (£2.24 p/litre).
ASDA - Smirnoff Ice - £3.82 p/litre.
Ocado - Smirnoff Ice - £3.23 p/litre.
The whole thing is bollocks anway. People who are thirsty wouldn't go, 'hmmm that cheap can of beer will rehydrate me a great deal better than this bottle of water'. Yes, the beer is cheaper in the supermarket than at the pub, but that doesn't matter either, as all the pubs are closing.
So, in conclusion, pubs are closing, breweries are shitting themselves and beer and alchopops are more expensive than water. Yet still we're supposed to believe that drinking is on the increase? Piss off. This isn't about health, it is about us being browbeaten at every opportunity, to condition us into thinking we need looking after. We don't. Fuck right off, and leave us the fuck alone. Got it?
Finally. It also seems that protests are continuing about the election in Iran. I don't get it. It seems to me that the President can't even take a fart without the Ayatollah giving the order. The difference between I'madinnerjacket and the other bloke, Moussaka or whatever his name is, is like the difference between a glass of milk, and a glass of milk in a different style of glass.
Now Iran's Guardian Council had a pretence of a re-count. I don't understand why. The President will do what he's bloody told, so it doesn't matter who has the job. However, if you convince the electorate that it does matter, then at least put the bloke in that they choose. It may not make any difference, but it will at least keep the public sweet.
By saying 'screw you' to the Iranian public, the Guardian Council is now really running the risk of seeing the 'Ceacescu Moment', that's the bit where the bloke in charge stands in front of the big ground, not understanding why they're booing, waving pitch-forks and nooses and the like, while the guys in uniform standing behind suddenly make a dash for the helicopters.
Perhaps they don't realise what happens when the largest portion of the population says 'enough, you're leaving.' Or perhaps they do and think they can use it to off the Ayatollah and take control themselves, but that's a hell of a risk. Why bring about confrontation when it isn't needed?
Ah, and there's the common thread. I've just written about them all. Seamless, wasn't it?
*With humble thanks to the God that is Chris Morris.
The little market town of Tenterden has had some new double yellow lines put down on a road.
These lines are 80cm long and sit on the corner of the road leading into someone's driveway.
Tenterden is quite a well heeled place, rather well-to-do, which means you get wonderfully eloquent expressions of exasparation like this:
One can only watch with weary resignation the Ashford Borough Council painters slapping double yellow lines on the roadway outside our house. Having failed, through a combination of ineptitude and local anger, to implement the draconian parking restrictions they wanted to impose on Tenterden, the council are now doing the predictable – bringing in restrictions by stealth.
As a result, we and our neighbours have lost nine perfectly good parking spaces which the council have deemed a road safety hazard, but which haven’t caused a single accident in the 13 years we have lived here. In their messianic zeal to use up every single pot of yellow paint, the council also seem to have created the world’s smallest parking restriction.
Of course it isn't the smallest. Not even in the UK, apparently Islington holds the record for yellow lines, clocking up one space which comes in at a microscopic 50cm, or something.
The response from the council is predictable.
Ashford council says the yellow lines have been introduced following extensive public consultation
But of course. The people of Tenterden were beating down Ashford Borough Council's door for these lines.
This just shows the arrogance and self-important attitude from these wonks. It would have been so much easier to say 'someone's over-stepped the mark here. These plans were drawn up after lunch on a Friday when the planner was due off on holiday at the weekend and he wasn't really giving it his all. We've had words with him and will remove the offending items.'
But they won't. They cannot make daft decisions. They are correct. The decision will stand. They do not serve, they dictate. You will be silent and comply.
What a bunch of idiotic buffoons.
The Curse of Jonah to strike again.
Curiously, Broon appears to have called Gaddafi out of a dress rehearsal for his prog-rock band's comeback tour.
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Sunday, 5 July 2009
The government should review the Contempt of Court Act, the UK's former top anti-terror police officer says.
Peter Clarke said the law, designed to ensure fair trials by limiting reporting of cases, made it harder for anti-terrorism police to do their jobs.
When the police arrest someone in controversial circumstances, he wants them to be able to shout in the media about what they had done, why they had done it, and that these people are terrible terrorists.
No, Paul. That is what the court room is for. In the court room, the suspect (and do try and remember that in this country it is still, by and large, innocent until proven guilty. I know you HATE it.) can refute the allegations and defend themselves. The suspect will not be able to hold his/her own press conference to do this, on account of them sitting in a locked room with a little blue plastic matress.
That is not fair. Fairness is very important, Paul. Even if they are bang to rights, they still have the right to a fair trial. To do away with that will make us no better than Iran or Myanmar.
Perhaps you see yourself as Judge Dredd? Perhaps you would like to be able to pass judgement yourself, on the street? Then you can tell the media that you proved he was a terrorist and passed sentence as appropriate, but can't give details for security purposes.
Perhaps we can change some more laws to make your job easier?
- Removal of a right to representation? Those defence barristers are a shower, aren't they? They stand up in court and say you're telling porkies, or have got it wrong. If you did away with them, then your job would be much easier.
- Removal of the right to trial by jury? We're getting there already. Bugger Magna Carta, sometimes a jury makes the 'wrong' decision. That has to be a pain in the arse.
- Removal of the right to mounting a defence? If the nasty terrorist wasn't allowed to refute the accusations made, or contest the evidence presented, then it would save an awful lot of police and court time, wouldn't it? Of course, if you did that then you could work on . . .
- Removal of the necessity of presenting evidence? I mean, you are a senior policeman. People should just be quiet and do what you say, your word obviously should be law. You're hardly likely to use duff evidence, are you? No, it would be much better all round if you just led the accused into the dock and said 'Your Honour, he's a terrorist, we can prove it, but don't see the point in wasting everyone's time by showing that evidence, we'll just take him out back and shoot him, then we can all have an early lunch. That OK?'
Once you remove even the thinnest slice of a right to a fair trial, all the above could follow suit as easy as could be.
I don't trust you Paul. Wittering on to the press about this, that and the other won't change that. I want the courts to be robust and to follow a set procedure that has served us well enough over the years. It offers me protection against nasty people. Sometimes those nasty people wear uniform and carry warrant cards. The courts and the rule of law have primacy over you. I'll set it out in simple terms.
The law is made my MP's elected by us.
This means the law is made by us.
The Police are there to enforce the law made by us.
The Police are in this position because the law sets out the need for and responsibilities of the police.
As we make the law, the police are there because we want them to be.
Do you see, Paul? We employ you to do our bidding. We employ the MPs to do our bidding. We do not employ the MP's to do your bidding. We do not employ you to do your bidding.
Another new law has presented itself to me:
Senior Policemen who make bloody stupid comments to be deposited in North Korea with proscribed material on their person, so they can experience first hand the police state they seem so keen to introduce.
Saturday, 4 July 2009
No political ranting today.
This afternoon Mrs. Wolfers and I took a walk along the River Stour onto Hambrook Marshes, minus the wolf proper as it is too hot for her and she's still recovering from a bilateral cruciate operation. Despite living in the centre of Canterbury these meadows are only a ten minute walk from my front door, through one of the city's parks.
There's a herd of wild horses, a Belgian breed, that live on this meadow, having been introduced by one of the local wildlife charities. They weren't there today - a shame. They're very friendly and enjoy having a scratch.
Settings like this, with a gentle breeze, some fluffy clouds scudding across the sky and the sound of the crickets in the long grass, along with what can almost be described as an infestation of the most striking electric blue damsel flies, served to remind me that with all that is wrong with this country, there are still some parts of it that are undeniably England.
Misty eyed nostalgia for a bygone age that probably never existed? Probably, but it is real shame that so few things are as perfect as this place.
Thursday, 2 July 2009
Nowadays I believe that the reverse is almost true, and that some pointed questions may be asked at passport control in Tirana if you turn up without a mullet.
Well, 80's revival seems to be the in thing at the moment. God knows why, I remember the 80's and am glad we've got 20 years distance between then and now. Still history repeats itself, and the latter day Enver Hoxha is revealed as Joe Langley, the NASUWT branch secretary in Salford.
This person has decided that it is very important to jump into the debate surrounding a moustache.
Yes. A moustache.
I feel a certain solidarity with 14 year old Akaash Iqbal. He has been banned (there's that word again) for growing a moustache. Because? Well, as far as I can make out, because he's grown a moustache.
He's 14, when I was 14 I was turning into the hairy wolfman that sits before you today. My 5 0'clock shadow comes at about half twelve. I'm covered in the fucking stuff, and whilst I was at school, got so pissed off with the whole shaving lark, that I grew a full beard. Not some wispy poncy Che wannabe, the full beard like that bloke from Abba.
So yes, it 'grips my shits' to see this poor lad slung out for refusing to shave his face fungus off, and why the hell should he? It's his bloody face. Where do these fuckers get off, what business it is of theirs? He is doing no damage to anyone. I've blogged in the past about kids being beaten at school by their classmates and the schools taking no action at all, but grow a 'tache, you're out of here son.
Let's see what Enver Langley has to say:
Unless you start somewhere and make children abide by a code that's the start of the slippery slope if you let them get away with it.
Sub the word children for teacher and that could have come out of the mouth of Ed Balls. Make children abide by a code? Yes, wholeheartedly. Here's the code. Sit down, listen to your teacher, realise that you have to pick out the indoctrination. Be polite and respectful. Question everything you're told, think for yourself and whatever you do, don't conform. You'll be a long time conforming, so express yourself now, you're young, take the chance now because if you don't, the opportunity may not arise again.
Anyhow. . .
All the school [Manchester Academy] is trying to do is enforce standards and I would have thought everyone would be onside with that.
Ahh yes, but who sets those standards? What if the standard was to dress in Waffen SS uniform, or to have only one book on the set text list, and you had to learn it by heart whilst rocking backwards and forwards?
Nasty controlling little fuckwits who are the first to moan when someone tells them to do something. It smacks of the parlour boy kicking the cat.
You go on and keep growing those whiskers Akaash, really put the cat amongst the pigeons and tell them you've converted to Sikhism, and then ask them about Kesh.