Wednesday, 29 September 2010

I see, so what you're saying is . . . whoa! Hang on! Where did that come from?

Just caught a few minutes of Jeff Randall on Sky News this evening. No problem with Jeff, he's quite entertaining. What I was struck by was the report on the demonstrations across Europe today, with special focus on the one taking place in Brussels.

This Pan-European Union Trade Union Marx-in revealed the usual it's all the bankers' fault. There was one British moron going on about how capitalism had failed. Well, it would have done, had we had capitalism, rather than governments trying to tame lions, milking them and coming running when they get a thorn stuck in their paw.

That isn't capitalism, the best description I can think of is corporatism, and we all know where that had its best run, don't we?

What caused me to stop, press pause on the old Sky box and whip the camera phone out was this quite remarkable banner carried by some of the participants today:

You actually think the EU is Liberalising things?

Sweet Mary, mother of Jesus and all the little orphans!

I don't know which is worse, the fact that you think that the EU is a force for liberty, or the fact that you think a process going towards more liberty is a bad thing.

I'm speechless, except to say, remember folks, these people elected the leader of the second biggest party in the UK.

If you live near some hills, I'd run for them, if I were you.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Confusion or delusion?

I'm a little confused about the election of the work experience boy to the big chair in the Labour party. I guess ageism trumps racism and sexism, eh, Diane?

Anyhow, if Ed is as 'Red' as we're led to believe, and if he lurches to the left, as some have predicted, I can only stand and applaud the wisdom of the trade union members who decided to cast their votes for him. If he's the heir apparent to Michael Foot then Labour really will be unelectable for years to come. Remember Labour have never unseated a leader, it just doesn't happen.

Clegg seems to have divorced himself from the membership of his party, that lot who are neither liberal, nor democratic. I'll hand it to the LimpDim membership though, they do have principles, one of the advantages of never having a decent shout at getting power. Unfortunately for Nick, he seems to have thrown one of the biggest principles (that being an abhorrance of the idea of getting into bed with the Tories) out of the window just so he can have a go at pressing a couple of the buttons that Cameron can't be fagged to press himself.

All we need now is for Cameron to be secretly filmed by the News of the World putting kittens into microwaves and the job will be done.

The Lib Dems will haemorrhage support, they're done before they even start. This coagulation government (as Leg Iron so beautifully puts it) will surely result in the death of the Lib Dems. This is probably not a bad thing, as the Liberals can go back to being liberal (assuming there are some properly liberal people amongst them) while the Social Democrats can go back to. . . well, where?

If Mr. Ed really does want to usher in a new era of swivel eyed socialism, those Social Democrats won't be welcome there. SDP, anyone?

I've always felt quite sorry for Labour members. I thought the way the New Labour agenda was smuggled in without the members' consent was a pretty shitty trick. The euphoria of government after so long out must now be dissipating, and the awful, awful truth dawning. But perhaps I was wrong? Surely if Miliband Minority was the best candidate to reflect what I always thought were the core opinions of the Labour party membership, then the membership would have turned out in their droves for him? They didn't.

Indeed Andy Burnham was probably an even more traditional (?) old (?) new old (?) Labour leadership candidate and he hardly got out of the blocks.

So we now have this odd situation where the person who I thought was the closest to the traditional membership was shunned by the membership and elected by the unions. A fact that I'm sure Woodley, Simpson, Serwotka, Crow, et al will remind him of at every available opportunity. If I heard Boulton on Sky News correctly, turnout amongst the trade union portion of the vote was around 10%. So hardly a ringing endorsement of any of the candidates on offer then.

So it leaves with me four questions:

1. What do the Labour party members want?
2. What are the Labour party for?
3. How does a party abdicate responsibility for their leadership elections to a load of people that don't even care enough about the Labour party to join?
4. Why would anyone vote Labour?

I've been saying for a couple of years that it wasn't the election just gone that was the important one, it'll be the next one. Let's hope that the Lib Dems tear themselves apart, that the Tories disgrace themselves and the coalition falls apart and that Labour go back to their old ways, with the unions cracking the whip. If we can get a snap election in, ooooh, 12 to 18 months, all bets will be off, especially if any AV referendum carries a 'yes' vote.

Friday, 24 September 2010

It's not all bad, it's not all good.

So, the Telegraph has managed to get hold of a leaked document showing how the government intends to lay waste to the quangocracy. Perhaps I'm a little cynical, but I'm guessing this has been leaked with the full knowledge of the top table. It will, I suspect, be welcome news to most people, but still nobody is going to want to be seen to be the person wielding the knife, this is a handy tool to avoid that.

If you look at the list of those who seem to have their fate sealed there's a number of institutions that almost beggar belief:

Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances 

Advisory Committee on the Government Art Collection
Eh? It is a government, not an art gallery.

Capacity Builders
Lord alone knows what they do.

Commissioner for the Compact
The Commissioner for what? Is this a board for dwarves, like Pratchett's Campaign for Equal Heights? Or is it to do with Government make-up policy?

Committee on the Safety of Devices
What sort of devices? Electrical? Mechanical? Dramatic?

Government Hospitality Advisory Committee on the Purchase of Wines
Now you're taking the piss.

If you look down the list, you realise just how much stuff is being done in our name which means nothing, accomplishes nothing or deals in the irrelevant.

All of this is being done with your money, whether you want it done or not. All of these bodies will have the staff which carry out the duties of the quango, the staff who make sure all the paper is ordered and put in the printers, the staff who train those staff, the staff who manage those trainers, the staff who make the policy for those managers, the staff who support those policy makers, the list goes on and on and on, in 177+ bodies which are completely unaccountable.

And there's the rub, it isn't the fact that this stuff is being done when it isn't needed, and at great cost, it is the fact that we have virtually no right to know what these quango's are doing, why they are doing it and how they are doing it. Bugger the money, this is no way for public servants to act in what is supposed to be an open democracy.

Ian Parker Joseph is concerned that the work will be done, or is already being done by departments in the machinery of the EU. My feelings about the EU are well documented here, but at least this means we won't be paying for it twice.

It's not all good news though, and there is an aspect which saddens me. I understand what the employees of these quango's must be feeling this morning. Hard as it may be to believe, there will be a good number of people who are about to lose their jobs who do care about the standard of their work, who do care about whichever aspect of life their particular quango oversees, who are effective at their jobs and who do appreciate that every single penny of public money which passes through their department is very precious.

I can do nothing but wish them well, and that their record and attitude means they will be able to find a job with the minimum possible delay. It is a path I may be walking shortly.

Whilst I feel for those people, there are organisations on that list which may as well be called the Dragon and Unicorn Preservation Trust, The Lunar Waterways Board or the Atlantis Redevelopment Council. I will mourn the losses of jobs for those who were worth those jobs, but I will not mourn the loss of the quangos.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Sorry? He said what?

I didn't expect to read this from this particular source:

The place to cut expenditure in local government is not among frontline staff doing useful work but among the £50,000, to £150,000 coordinators, managers and mutual backscratchers in the back offices.

There is not that much overmanning these days on the shop floor, or even in private sector management either. It isn’t like the 1970s and 1980s. The fat that needs cutting out is to be found in the town halls, not on the dustcarts.

This is exactly the point I've been trying to make, and could not agree more with it if I tried. The author of this little bit of blinding common sense?

Step forward Lord Tebbit.

I find his blog entertaining, I disagree with a good deal of what he says, but on balance we share more common ground than I'd have thought.

Does this say something about me, something about him, or something about the way the Tory party, and politics in general, has changed over the years?

Where to start?

A few days of silence broken by a roaring avalanche of stupid.

I’ve been trying to think about how I could split these up into separate posts, but sod it, I’m sure some common thread, beyond stupidity, will reveal itself before the end of the post. I make no apologies for sourcing entirely from Nanny Beeb, the tone is so wonderfully patronising.

Right so, exhibit A:

They said such "graduated driver licensing" for those aged 17-19 could save more than 200 lives and result in 1,700 fewer serious injuries each year.

I didn’t start driving until I was fairly old, I’d certainly left uni before I got my licence.

There is no doubt that young people are much more likely to be involved in an accident than older drivers. But I would submit that it is lazy to attribute this solely to their age. Surely the biggest factor in this statistic is the question of experience?

We already have this crazy rule whereas a learner is barred from driving on a motorway with (in the main) a professional instructor at hand, but once they pass their test, which has no element of motorway driving in it (I’m assuming the theory test does, I never took one) they are free to go and drive on the motorway with no supervision at all. The answer to this is not to say ‘you can’t go on a motorway until you’ve been passed a year’ the answer surely is to make this an element of the learning and testing experience.

Without the experience of driving in the dark, with passengers, on the motorway, towing a trailer or a caravan, any driver is likely to be at increased risk of having a prang when driving in that situation.

Merely bringing in a rule that says ‘no driving in these conditions until you’re twenty‘ will surely only serve to postpone the vulnerability of not having that experience.

Young people can’t be trusted is the message here. More restrictions are the answer, because it looks like you are doing something. Even if that something will actually do nothing to alleviate the problem.

It’s not just on the roads, either:

What’s the cause of this then? I’ve transposed the headline and the first paragraph here.

Fast-food outlets could be banned from operating near schools in Medway as part of an effort to cut child obesity.
Right, so it is nothing to do with the wholesaling of school and public playing fields for development, nothing to do with the constant warnings that your children can’t leave the house without being hit by a car, injected with drugs, playing hopscotch on the high speed rail link, buggered by the nonces hanging around the bushes at the end of the street, stabbed, held at knifepoint until mobile phones and MP3 players are handed over or inducted to the Hare Krishnas.  It is certainly nothing to do with the state telling mothers that they’re worthless if they don’t go back to work as soon as the stitches have healed or both sets of parents that it would just be better all round if they let the State bring up their children for them.

These kids are fat, not because of the above, but because there’s a place selling chips near the school. The Righteous have declared this to be the case, therefore it is fact. It is unfortunate that these businesses will have to close, and these people will lose their jobs. It is unfortunate that the people who work in these places are probably poor and just above the poverty line themselves, but despite all the Righteous bleating about helping them, they really couldn’t give a toss. They’re not thinking of you today, they’re thinking of the chiiiiiiiiiildren.

Despite the attempts of successive governments, children are actually very creative problem solvers, especially when it is a problem close to their hearts that needs solving. So when you read;

In 2008 Waltham Forest Council in east London set up a 400m exclusion zone around schools, parks and youth centres to tackle child obesity
I’m willing to bet that the kids were very quick to identify the fried chicken shop that was 405m away from the school gates. It certainly betrays a clarity of thought sadly absent in some of our politicians and civil servants.

And whilst we’re on the subject of fat (have you seen what I’ve done here? God I’m good!):

Fair enough, it seems only fair, I criticise the RMT on an almost daily basis for being petulant, childlike Communist fantasists. I’ve seen many workers who are British, and many of them are fat. Many of them are tattooed. A good number are both. An equally good number are neither.

Pim de Lange said he was quoted out of context and has apologised.
Oh, Pim. That’s your second mistake there. Never apologise. Those Righteous bastards never do, so why should you?

But Steve Todd, head of maritime at the RMT, has called for a fuller apology.

Mr de Lange's comments appeared in a Dutch newspaper, in which he also said it was hard to find British workers who were young and fit for the job.
It’s all because of those fast-food restaurants near the schools, you see, Pim.

He later said in a statement: "I regret any offence caused and apologise."

But Mr Todd said this did not go far enough.

Not nearly far enough.

"RMT is demanding a full retraction of all the statements he has made and a full apology to all British seafarers for his behaviour," he said. “We are also demanding that he be stripped naked, flogged, dragged on a hurdle through Harwich town centre to the docks, before being keel-hauled on the trip back to Holland. Once there, his remains should be ground into dust, mixed with some petrol in a glass bottle and set alight before being thrown through the window of his house, where his wife and kids will be bound to large objects of furniture, unable to escape the ensuing conflagration.”

I might have made that last bit up.

Bloody RMT, it’s perfectly acceptable for them to make everyone else’s life a misery, but as soon as someone suggests that on occasion it might be an idea for one or two of their members to pass on the odd bacon roll and perhaps be a little more discerning in the subject of body art, it’s the end of the world.

I thought you were supposed to be big roughty-toughty sailors, picking the weevils out of biscuits, pouring hot tar down hatches, drinking huge amounts of rum, all buggers’ grips and golden rivets? Don’t be so fucking precious.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Who's who?

One's a dangerous psycopath who believes he is infallible, obsessed with telling people how to live their lives and that they're being watched, the other is the Pope.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

So, the Pope then.

Amazing to see that he hasn't been able to sell all his tickets. This is the first official visit by the head of the Catholic church ever. He hasn't even been able to sell as many tickets as Manchester United manage once a week, and they're as hated as this fellow.

It seems remarkable to me that in a time of cuts, that we're spunking upwards of £10m on the visit of some former Nazi who has spent most of the last year acting as an apologist for the child abuse which has been running rampant through his organisation.

It isn't just that we're footing the bill, it would also appear that as well as picking up the tab, we're also going to be giving in to demands from the deranged old bastard. Even the Queen for crying out loud. It would appear that she will be expected to wear black whilst in 'His' presence. I hope to the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Sauce be upon Him) that she doesn't wear a mantilla.

And then there's the drivel that's being spouted from the entourage the sinister eyed old Paedo lover will be bringing, or not, with him:

“When you arrive at Heathrow you think at times that you’ve landed in a Third World country.” 

Way to endear yourselves to your hosts. What on Earth did you mean by that?

Mgr Oliver Lahl, said the remark was a reference to the diverse, multi-cultural population of Britain

Fuck me, paedophilia and racism? What do you need for the full set? Is the Pope going to sit having a smoke in his new steam driven Pope mobile whilst buckfast drinking, BigMac eating Cardinals shovel barn owls covered in crude oil into the furnace?

Cardinal Kasper, [...], said that Britain was a “secular and pluralist” country in which there was a “distance from God”, noting that there was “a crisis of faith” in much of the West.

No crisis here mate. Perhaps you just haven't quite got the message that your organisation is now an irrelevance. We've worked out that the Earth orbits the Sun, and that even with the latest mechanical retrieval technology there's no way you're going to make a handful of fish go round a dinner party of five thousand. We don't need you any more.

In a break with tradition, the Pope is returning to Rome with Alitalia rather than Britain’s flag carrier. 

Well, that is actually good news. What if BA went on strike? We'd be stuck with him and his freeloading mates for days, and there are children about, what if they started hanging around outside Catholic primary schools, which I understand is some sort of Papal code for 'pick-up bar'?

The Cardinal also said the Catholic Church would “never” allow the ordination of women. Asked if the Church might soften its position on women priests in 100 or 200 years, he said: “I’m not a prophet, but I don’t think so.” 

Excellent, we chalk up sexism to the list as well then. Know your place, bitch.

The Anglican Communion has allowed women to be ordained and priests to be married, but the cardinal asked: “Does it seem to you that things have gone better for them?” 

No, but that's because they're an irrelevance as well, it's nothing to do with allowing the clergy to get their leg-over, even if the person is able to give legal consent, nor is it to do with vicars worrying that the cassock makes their bum look big.

A Vatican source denied that the last minute withdrawal was a blow to the Pope’s trip but said that Cardinal Kasper’s “expertise” on ecumenical dialogue would be “much missed”. 

Yeah, after all that, he's the best they've got. I can imagine the dicussion between Cameron and Hague; 'I'm sorry David, but Alf Garnett is the only person we can send to be our Ambassador to the UN.' Good grief.

“He is quite a liberal figure who doesn’t always see eye to eye with the Pope, and he has been very friendly towards the Anglicans,” the source said. 

Tea ------> monitor. Really? Come on, tell us another one!

The Most Rev Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark, has warned that "crackpots and lunatics" may try to disrupt the papal visit. 

Well, he asked them along. Hmmmm? What? You mean he wasn't referring to the entourage? There's people more crackpot and lunatic? Really? Oh this should be good, I can't wait to see them! There are loads of tickets for sale after all.

They're all absolutely bonkers.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

More of this please.

The best way of learning is through one's mistakes.

So when Saeed Khan, the man who, as far as I can make out, runs the only remaining branch of the Post Office in Kent not situated in a bastard WHSmith, was robbed in his shop, he considered the chain of events and wasn't about to make the mistake of being caught unprepared again.

So. . .

Saeed Khan, 62, was alone in his shop in Byron Road when a man armed with a knife entered and demanded money. 

Mr Khan said he had kept a hammer near the counter to protect himself after his shop was targeted last month.

He said: "I hit him on his arm, but then he tried to come closer so I raised the hammer again and that's when he ran off.

Fair play to Mr Khan. Mr Khan sounds like just the sort of chap we need more of in this country.

However. . .

Mr Khan, who has run the post office for 27 years, said he believed the same man was involved on both occasions.

So it would appear our robber has now learned a valuable lesson; don't try and turn over Saeed Khan's Post Office, because he'll hit you with a hammer, and that bloody hurts.

The outcome? Well, this may be a little shocking.

You think I'm going to tell you he's been nicked for twatting this cretin with a hammer, don't you? Well, he hasn't been. I doubt this is due to an outbreak of common sense at Gillingham CID, it is probably down to the fact that the robber has not come forward to make a complaint.

No, the outcome is actually quite predictable.

Det Insp Ann Lisseman said: "(Mr Khan) was very brave but I wouldn't advise that people make use of weapons nearby or try and physically challenge offenders." 

Now, if we had country where the Police (and I attach no blame to the rank and file here) actually arrived when asked and had a better than average chance of catching the little scrote, where protestations about being hit with a hammer whilst engaging in the act of robbing a Post Office being a flagrant breach of one's human rights would be dismissed with suitable alacrity, and where the judiciary had the latitude and disposition to lock these arseholes up in a proper prison for a term longer than the 50% handed down, then this would probably be decent advice.

My advice would be the opposite. Keep a hammer near, and if someone tries to turn your gaff over, go at him with said hammer like a kid with ADHD at a fairground whack-a-mole stall. Once someone tries to harm you and/or yours or to take you and yours stuff, all bets are off. You get what you deserve.

Mr. Khan, I salute you.

As an aside, and to highlight the wonderful stupidity of some of the criminals within our midst, a couple with whom Mrs. Wolfers and I are friendly with had cause to have a late supper at one of my city's numerous Indian restaurants recently. They were surprised when the old bill arrived during an unremarkable dinner service and thoroughly enjoyed the sideshow as two men sat a table nearby were arrested following the inspection of CCTV footage shot within the restaurant earlier that evening.

It transpired that the two gentlemen in question had entered the restaurant earlier that evening and had swiped the tips jar sat on the counter. No doubt having exchanged the contents of the jar for some drinks in one of the city's fine hostelries, they felt a little peckish and decided to go for a curry.

In the same place they'd turned over earlier, where they were instantly recognised by the staff.


Monday, 13 September 2010

Why is this so difficult to understand?

I've just had the misfortune of listening to some of this morning's phone in on Radio 5, and it left me tearing my hair out in despair.

It all centred around this news story about the public service unions discussing industrial action over forthcoming cuts.


It really does drive me to distraction. Usual pointing out, I am a public sector worker, and come early November, once the spending review has been digested, I will find out how deep and how close to home the cuts in my department are. There's nothing I can do about it. What happens, happens.

I am not a member of any of the TUC affiliated unions, I'm not interested. I dislike the authoritarian nature of those unions, I dislike their militant tendencies and I'm damned if a single penny of my pay is going, via my subs, to the Labour party. It isn't happening.

How did we come to be here? Well, there's a couple of major factors in my mind. Firstly we've just come out of 13 years of Labour rule. Quite why people expected a different outcome this time is beyond me. Labour governments always end in bankruptcy and industrial strife. Always, always, always.

For over a decade we had a government that was obsessed with spying on us, monitoring and measuring us, nannying us, telling us what do to, how to do it, when to do it, and regulating us to make sure we complied with all the above. This was a government that really did oversee the introduction of officers to root through people's bins, to adjudicate on whether people had driven their car in a bus lane for two metres, to go into our schools and tell kids to eat 5 a day.

Like the person who wins the lottery and then lives the next 5 years spending, spending, spending, the money was always going to run out. The levels of expenditure were not sustainable, this money does not magically appear out of thin air, there comes a point when the people you take the money from simply do not have any more to give. The cow has been milked dry.

Secondly, there was a huge shift in the way the civil service (my department at least) did business. It used to be that when someone retired or moved on, people wishing to fill that post from within would apply for the job and would be interviewed etc, etc, before being given the promotion. That all changed, I forget the reasons now, but you can bet that one of the prime motivators was that senior positions did not have adequate representation of women, ethnic minorities, the disabled, the incompetent, and that wasn't good enough. There was then this programme of 'assessment centres' where anyone could apply for their ticket to promotion, and as long as they met the minimum requirements for the promotion (and the criteria and process bore very little relationship to the real life demands of the promotion, it was spectacularly vague and general) then that ticket would be given.

Problem, with all these people being told they could have promotion, there were no promotions to give these people. Solution? Create new jobs for them. When I joined my department, there were six Senior Bottle Washers and one Bottle Cleaning Policy Wonk, if you had any dealings with the Bottle Cleaning Policy Wonk, it was because you'd happened to walk into the toilet when he was there or you'd been very, very bad. In 2010 we have, blimey, I don't know, over a dozen Senior Bottle Washers, five Bottle Cleaning Policy Wonks and two Directors of Liquid Containment Vessel Management (Cleansing and Deployment). All these people had to be given a responsibility, a staff, a budget and all the trimmings. If this was replicated throughout the civil service, and I bet it was, then the bill must have run to tens, even hundreds of millions of pounds.

Where were the unions? I heard no policies of caution and parsimony from them at the time. Now the credit card bill has arrived and the gnashing of teeth and wailing has started.

So on the radio this morning, we've heard the old bogeyman being rolled out. 'Ooooh, it's the evil bankers and the evil Tories.' Bullshit. We've been spending for too long. The banks didn't help, and then spending loads of our money to bail them out when we could have said 'you're broke, and? What do you expect us to do about it? Your shareholders can bail you out, or do they only count when there's dividends to pay and they don't ask too many questions?' didn't help at all.

As for the bonuses. Well, as long as the bank paying it hasn't taken a penny of public money, they can pay someone a hundred, billion, trillion pounds for all I care. If the shareholders are content with it, then fair enough. If the shareholders' silence or indifference leads to the bank collapsing, then tough.

Our politicians and senior civil servants have been just as wasteful and as profligate as our failed banks. The bankers were not held to account by their shareholders, and the civil servants have not been held to account by the (warning, management word) stakeholders of the politicians, unions and electorate.

Is it fair that some capable and worthwhile staff (and they do exist) are going to lose their jobs? No. It isn't, but that is the situation. If you are on an economy drive at home, is it fair that the Chinese restaurant, the video rental shop, the local zoo all lose income as a result? No, it isn't, but that's life, if you haven't got it, you don't spend it.

This is going to hurt, but it cannot be escaped.

Unions: For years you have stood back and watched as millions of pounds have been pissed up the wall, and you said nothing. You knew the party had to end sometime, but all the while people were joining and donating to whatever causes you saw fit, you kept quiet. You don't represent peoples' views and interests, you collect people as if there's a prize for whoever has the most members. I don't want to hear people on huge salaries moaning about the inequity of bankers' pay (as detailed by OH here), it is hypocrisy and you are as self-serving and corrupt as the politicans you have finally decided to rail against.

Public Service Workers: What good do you think going out on strike will do? Will it make the money magically come back? Will Joe Public recoil in horror and take out his wallet? Ask yourself the question 'will I be missed if I go out?' If the public will not absolutely miss you as an individual not pushing forms, internal memos, order dockets and the like about, then watch out. You are turning a huge spotlight on and your empty desk is right underneath it.

Public Service Managers: Stop wasting money. Stop introducing idiotic schemes promoting alternative lifestyles, rambling groups, religious awareness seminars. Stop bringing in stupid teams with mad budgets, if your department has managed to soldier on despite a lack of a 'vital service' thus far, the chances are it doesn't need doing now. Sweep away the ridiculous empires which have sprung up in the last ten years. I can think of half a dozen in my department alone. Get rid of them. For every person in these non-squads, there is someone who works in a worthwhile office who is seeing it fall apart because the reason for the existence of the department has been forgotten. You've forgotten that you have a clear purpose, and you've failed to exercise sufficient control over those below you. They've pulled the wool over your eyes whilst their gaze is set on the next promotion. Keep it simple and do what is absolutely required, not what your grasping assistants tell you it would be nice or good to do.

What a bloody mess.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

The Uprising.

It was my very good fortune to attend the Muse concert at Wembley Stadium last night. I've been a fan of theirs for years, damn good tunes, well played and certainly in respect of the last few albums (although there are a number of incidences throughout their work) a very strong Libertarian feel to the lyrics.

By my reckoning there must have been about 70,000 present in the stadium. They opened with this number:

To hear that many people sing the lines:

They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious

was kinda cool. I wonder how many people from last night, and the other dates on the tour, get the message?

Friday, 10 September 2010

Pass the matches.

Sky News are reporting that Pastor Terry Jones (and I keep expecting this to be a stunt to announce the reformation of the Python boys) from the seemingly inappropriately named 'Dove World Outreach Center' has given the New York imams a two hour deadline to talk to him about the building of something that isn't a mosque on some land that isn't quite Ground Zero or he'll. . .

Well, he doesn't say. But the threat is clear.

It reminds me of the episode of the Young Ones when they wake up in the morning to find a nuclear bomb in the kitchen, and Rik threatens to appropriate it if Thatcher doesn't do 'something', for 'the kids'.

Of course the wild eyed wavy arm brigade across the Muslim world have shown that they don't like the idea of their book being burned in a disrespectful way, by burning the American flag and other stuff in a disrespectful way. It's kinda like Argentina playing Germany, you want both sides to lose.

Anyhow, he's an idiot. Indeed he's a nutter so nutty that even Westboro Baptist Church would probably look at him and say 'this guy's nuts!'

You want your book burning Mr. Jones? Fine, then burn away old chap, burn away. But if I were the Commissioner of Gainesville Police Department or the Sherriff of Alachua County, then I would be pointing out to him that if some odd looking dark skinned chaps with entertaining beards turned up with an impressive selection of automatic weaponry, then I probably wouldn't be too bothered about finding out what they were up to, nor would I be responding to any panicked phone calls from the Dove World Outreach Center with any sense of urgency.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

They don't like it up 'em.

They don't like it, do they? It's all fun and games until the rules they make for us are suddenly applied to them.

We've had moaning about IPSA. We've heard moaning about how giving us the reform-lite AV referendum is unfair, because it reduces the chances of MPs being tribally nodded into the house as is their God given right.

Meanwhile, our God given rights are stripped from us day after day.

If we whine, we're dismissed. Tin foil hat wearers. Non-progressives. Fantasists. Apologists for terrorism. Eco-criminals. Conspiracy theory nuts. Racists. Sexists. Homophobes. Paedophiles. Smokers. Drinkers. Fatties.

So an MP gets threatened with arrest.

Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood says police threatened to arrest him when he offered to remove an anti-war protestor who had climbed up scaffolding outside Parliament. 


Tory Mr Ellwood – a former Army officer – told the Commons he asked the police why the protestor had not been removed, and was told it for health and safety reasons. 

Never heard of him, obviously plod hadn't either. Otherwise the dog wouldn't have snarled at his handler.

“I offered to climb the scaffolding and make a citizen’s arrest. I was told to move off or I would be arrested. It’s a very strange day indeed when an MP is threatened with arrest while a protestor sits on our roof,” he said.

And there we have the mindset laid bare for all to see.

First observation; you'd expect someone making that offer to have done it in a lighthearted fashion. But this is an MP we're talking about. Second observation; In the old days, a PC would have given a grin and a little chuckle with advice to leave it to me mate. Nowadays, you're threatened with arrest. Third observation; only an MP would make the offer to climb up and make a citizen's arrest in all seriousness. Final observation; only an MP would recoil at horror that an MP would be threatened arrest. Us proles, sure, no problem. But an MP?

Not very nice, is it Tobias? Being threatened with arrest like that, when you've done nothing wrong? It happens to the normal, little people every day. And if it isn't arrest, then it is a ticket, demanding money, from some council warden or enforcement officer who's word will seemingly be accepted without question.

Which august institution has overseen this? Yes, that's right, it is our wonderful Houses of Parliament.

Oh, you can argue up and down that you're different to the others. You can bleat about your 'new politics', boast of your public consultations. I don't buy it, and no-one else does either. You've not even changed your tie, more like your socks. You're just the same as what went before, and sadly, what will come after.

You'll certainly not be changing this situation, will you? You may have argued against it when Tony and Gordon unwrapped their new toys under the Christmas Tree. But now you've taken control of the toybox, and the toys are so shiny, so much fun, you just can't help but play with them.

And you're different. Better. What you've now realised is, it wasn't the toys that were the problem. It was the other boys who had them first. They didn't play with them properly, sensibly. You'll use the toys in the manner that they were designed for. And you'll make sure that the toys are used against the bad people, the terrorists, the murderers, the paedophiles, the fraudsters, the people that look at the officer in a funny way, the people that leave their bins open, the people that try to get their kids into the school, the people that disagree with you.

Oh. . .

When it all kicks off, we'll be fine.

OK, let's carry on with this silly season malarkey.

There are many benefits to Libertarianism, but one of them will likely (and rightly) stay out of reach. Say what you like about fascism, national socialism and communism, but credit where it is due, those guys do scary very well. They are also very adept at designing an impressive uniform. A uniform is something we as Libertarians are most unlikely to ever have.

Doesn't mean we can't do scary though.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you Glenn Jacobs, who under his pseudonym of Kane is the current World Heavyweight Champion:

OK, it's not a 'real' sporting event, (cricket, cycling, athletics, snooker, anyone?), but if it all kicks off, I'm making sure I stand next to Jacobs. He's one of us and blogs under the name of Citizen X here.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

So much stupid.

There are some ideas which are a bit stupid. Like trying to unscrew a plug with a paring knife.

There are some really stupid ideas. Like sitting on the branch of the tree you are about to cut off with a chainsaw.

Then there are some catastrophically stupid ideas. You know, the sort of idea which starts with Pa Prescott looking at his missus and saying 'I'm feeling frisky, let's have an early night.'

Then you transcend that level of stupidity and get an idea which is so monumentally, incomprehensibly bad, that it defies all belief.

This idea is thoroughly fisked by Thaddeus over at Anna Raccoon's place, and involves the idea that obviously the current PAYE system isn't working, as evidenced by the recent balls-up. The solution? Even though the Revenue is responsible for the chaos, it is clear that it isn't their fault, so the whole thing has to be changed. This is a good one. Rather than having your employer taking the tax from your salary and passing it on to the treasury, your employer will cut out of the system and your wages will be passed, in totality to the revenue who will remove their cut and pass the remainder on to you.

What could possibly go wrong?

Do head over and read the whole thing. It's kinda important.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

A lolz.

I'm not entirely sure what's going on here, I'm led to understand it is someone who is off to post off their vote for either Ed Balls or Diane Abbott.

Either way, it's very funny.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Dog bites man.

And so it continues.

The fact that the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster thinks the tax payer should be funding the trip his former Nazi child-abuse condoning boss will be taking to the UK is news, is it?

Bloody hell what next? I can see the headlines now:

‘Don’t vote for other candidates.’ says Ed Balls.

‘Getting crushed to death by bale of hay ruined my weekend.’ claims former ELO cellist.

Capello rallies troops with cry of ‘We hope to score more goals than Switzerland on Tuesday.’

Bear looks at woods and cries ‘My God! Why didn’t I think of shitting in there?’

Good grief, is it Christmas yet?

Friday, 3 September 2010

Silly Season Bites.

Not much going at present, is there? And what there is is difficult to do anything proper with.

I could talk about the timing of Blair's memoirs cunningly coinciding with the start of the election of a new Labour leader.

I could talk about how all the candidates in the election are either mad, sinister, useless or all three.

I could talk about how Hague has been caught spending our money to give his mate a job, and how sad it is that the only way to highlight this rampant piss-taking is to insinuate that he's been kicking his back doors in.

I could talk about the cynicism displayed by Hague in choosing now to talk about how his wife has had a miscarriage, so leave me alone because it isn't fair.

What about the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change being told not to be caught out spinning their bullshit again? It doesn't matter, it isn't about truth.

Could talk about Asil Nadir, but, meh.

Could talk about the no-ball scandal which has disappointed, but not exactly shocked the cricket world.

But to be honest, once you've said the above, how much more detail can you go into?

Perhaps something approaching proper news will come around shortly.