Monday, December 28, 2009

Port or Starboard?

Another highly amusing post over at Mr E's place has alerted me to this article on Carbon Taxes; something that I consider to be a way for a clique to make a stack of cash.

That aside, this statement in the article confused me somewhat:

I am an economist, and so I supported a carbon tax. A carbon tax means that we can leave it to the market to find the lowest-cost way of reducing global warming, with governments setting the tax at the rate necessary to bring global warming emissions within appropriate levels as determined by natural scientists.

The concept that controlling price and supply in some way means that we're leaving it to the market it one which is hurting my booze-addled post Christmas brain. I thought that if we wished to leave something to the market then we did just that: left it to the market. Laissez faire; let's not have any government interference and leave it all down to utils. Surely by imposing a tax we are shifting everyone's indifference curves around?

Is this wrong? Is this the view of economics only seen by libertarians whilst the left have hijacked economic theory to suit their own ends? I wouldn't be surprised if they had, of course, only disappointed and left hoping that this isn't taught in schools.

Whilst Tim has changed his mind on carbon tax, alas it's only because he wants to see it as part of a huge scheme of measures designed to regulate us back to the stone age. The only people I can see this climate change fanaticism benefiting are the well connected in developing countries and people who benefit from carbon trading. Like the chairman of the IPCC.

Or maybe it's just the port talking.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Our Christian Government

I can't help but wonder, come christmas time, if our dearly beloved government don't want us to continually remember the story of Christ's birth, for the Gospel according to St Luke doth say:

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

Just like us.

All the time.

But as the pages of the calendar flip towards the festive day itself, as we brace ourselves for The Queen talking to us about saving the polar bears and wonder how we'll pay the bills given that most of our money has been stolen by the Treasury, remember that this could be the last Christmas where Gordon Brown is our Prime Minister and we have a government intent on ruining this country.

Okay, the likely option is that the people who will take over wouldn't know a decent policy if it smacked them round the face with the Smeltings Stick and still want to be governed from Brussels. But there's a chance that they don't love tax rises as much as the current lot and possibly they do want to give us some freedoms back. But it still means that this season, as well as stuffing ourselves silly and drinking too much we can remember that next time around we would have been given the opportunity to have a say on how a tiny piece of our lives are run. And currently that does include tax policy.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Britblog Roundup - the snowbound edition

The bumper Christmas Stocking edition is courtesy of Mr E and Eurostar.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Big Brother State

I'm not a fan of Big Brother; the only possible decent use of the house would be to keep the people who win the auditions in there, minus the cameras. So I was quite pleased to hear the news in the summer that Channel 4 would not be renewing Endemol's contract to produce the dross. Unfortunately this means that we do have one series left in 2010 to keep actual news out of the papers in an already watered down media.

But an e-mail which passed across my desk has moved them lower in my estimation: something I didn't think was possible. Casting directors have been e-mailing various organisations asking them to encouraging members to contact the production company along side the usual open auditions which, one can presume, aren't going that well. That wouldn't be so bad, I suppose, if they hadn't contacted a particular charity who assist vulnerable veterans suffering from homelessness, drink and drug abuse asking for 'case studies' to contact.

Men and women who have bravely served their country and fallen on hard times or dealt badly with the transition from the Armed Forces to civvy street are now ideal people to be under continual observation and media scrutiny, are they?

How fucking heartless do you have to be to think that putting a homeless person in a house where they face a weekly eviction vote is a good idea?

note to readers

It's too cold for me to write anything. When this global warming turns up, normal service will resume. Until then I'm off to sit under the hand dryer in the ladies loo.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why are jobs being closed on Teeside?

It's our old friend, the chairman of the IPCC who, as Mr Eugenides points out, is rather more qualified in economics than in climate change:

Just on a point of basic accuracy, Rajendra Pachauri is not "the world's leading climate scientist"; in fact, he is not and never has been a scientist at all. He has postgraduate degrees in industrial engineering and economics. The only thing he's qualified to lecture me on is the fucking price of rivets.

It appears that he's doing rather well on the economics side of things particularly in carbon credits, as Christopher Booker pointed out in his column on Sunday.
What is the connection between Dr Rajendra Pachauri, the Indian railway engineer who has been much in evidence at the Copenhagen climate conference, as chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and an Indian-owned steel company's decision to mothball its giant Teesside steel works next month, ripping the heart out of the town of Redcar by putting 1,700 people out of work?

According to the President of the European Commission, not only does absolutely nothing link him to the job closures but the suggestion that he does is defamatory.

Debate, you see, is not allowed in the European Parliament. I've told you that before.

No Recession in the European Parliament

Marta Andreasen, UKIP MEP for the South East of England points out in a speech on the EU's budget that the contribution that British Taxpayer makes to the EU has risen from £45 million a day to £50 million a day. At the same time we hear in the PBR that our taxes are rising and there are cuts in public services which amount to around £12 billion.

And of course let's not forget that MEPs are also awarding themselves a salary increase, paid for by guess who....

Rage against the X Factor?

So I see the campaign for Christmas No 1 is once again hotting up with campaigns for alternatives to Simon Cowell's money machine being promoted all over the internet.

Hurrah for alternative music and competition!

But hold on. Reading this piece in The Grauniad alerts me that this supposed alternative anti-establishment-and-mainstream-music group is backed by none other than Sony Music.

Epic Records is an American record label. It is a premier subsidiary label of Sony Music Entertainment. The label was founded in 1953 as a jazz label, but was eventually expanded to several genres of music. The label itself manages several imprints as well.

Remember last year when we were all supposed to buy the cover of 'Hallelujah' which Jeff Buckley did:
The release of Burke's cover created interest in the previous versions of the song, including a Buckley fan campaign to take Buckley's cover to the top of the Christmas chart in order to deny Burke the top spot.The campaign was fuelled by Jeff Buckley fans' dislike of The X Factor's commercialism and the song's arrangement, as well as a desire by this contingent to introduce younger music fans to Buckley's version

At the same time the original by Leonard Cohen was also released although it only reached No 36 in the charts compared to No 1's for Burke and No. 2 for Buckley.

But the real winner of the day was, of course, Simon Cowell, who owns the rights to all three versions.
I'm not attacking Simon Cowell for being smart by any means. Well done the man for being able to read the minds of the public and the media so well.

I'm just saying that if I worked in the PR department for these record labels that one of the first things I'd do is secretly promote some huge battle between two records in order that the company I worked for raked in the cash regardless of who got to the top spot this festive season.

I personally have decided to download the Christmas Single by The Soldiers because it's not owned by Sony and I know the guys who sing it.

So if you really want to rage against anything, here's a handy link for you.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Strictly Come Scandal?

>Last year some of you may remember that there was something of a scandal because the most popular couple with the public who pay to vote were the least popular couple with the judges who provide half the scores and also decide who goes home in the dance off.

Well this year people like me thought there might be another similar situation with Chris and Ola (skimpy outfits, big boobs) being popular with the public like Tom and Camilla were but not getting the high scores with the judges like Ali and Ricky have been getting.

I was personally sad when my favourite couple, Ali and Brian, left the competition despite getting a massive 50/50 with their American Smooth (and a kiss) but then I realised that in the semi-final there was no dance off. So really there was no point to the judges even scoring that one because the powers that be in the programme had realised that Chris and Ola would have no chance of making it into the final because chances are with the lowest judges score they would be in the dance off and the judges would vote them out because they aren't as good dancers as Ali or Ricky. Thus we'd have a repeat of last year.

It's just that this time the BBC realised in advance rather than wait until the programme had already started before getting the calculators out...

As it happens, I would quite like Team Cola to win because Ricky bores me and because I loved this Charleston.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Can someone tell me why this man needs a hairdryer, let alone one which is on the tax payer?

I'm very pleased it was turned down by the fees office but aren't they only allowed to claim furnishings for their second home? Because if it was the London flat which allegations were made in the Telegraph over the summer, the daughter looks much more in need of a blow drier than he does. And I don't want to be paying for hers when mine is on the blink. Or even if it wasn't, for that matter.

In 2007-08, he billed taxpayers for £1,343.81 in household goods and redecoration including a new bath, although a claim to have the archway between the hallway and lounge removed was rejected. His file indicates that the £223.04 annual home insurance policy with the Post Office was taken out solely in the name of his daughter, listed as “Miss M George”. She began studying in London in autumn 2007, just months after her father bought the flat.

Commons rules state that MPs must only use the second homes allowance to claim back living costs that they themselves incur.

Neighbours confirmed they had seen Miss George regularly in the area. Last night her father said she had been in halls of residence in her first year and now lived with her boyfriend. He admitted she did stay in his riverside flat but denied she was there more often than him.

All looks very suspicious to me; I do hope this isn't another example of an MP trying to fleece the tax payer when it was against the rules.

Perhaps chaps could confirm whether or not they are in need of hair drying equipment as part of their daily routine?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thomas the Tank Engine - sexist beast?

This is just hilarious. It's not really worth getting bothered about unless someone actually listens to the woman and takes action.

If you thought the television tales about Thomas the Tank Engine were merely light-hearted fun, think again.
In fact, they portray a world blighted by a 'conservative political ideology' and a rigid class system which stifles self-expression. And they are sexist...According to Professor Shauna Wilton, women are under-represented in the stories and what few female characters there are tend to have 'secondary' roles or be bossy.

Watch bloody She-Ra, then. Silly bitch.

Unless she's too provocatively dressed and aggressive? Something of a role model for me, chaps.

Bell End?

The latest round of expense claims has journalists ploughing through receipts in the hope of another duck house outrage.

Front runner appears to be Quentin Davies MP who submitted a receipt for £20,700 for repairs to his bell tower. I presume that's not a euphemism and the former Tory thought that it was right and proper that the hard up tax payer, many of whom can't afford one home of their own, pay for ornaments to one of his.

Of course there has been the statement that he didn't want tax payers to pay for it, which does beg the questions 'so why did you submit the invoice, then?

Regardless of whether the bell tower was going to "smash through the roof" I still fail to see why I should contribute towards fixing it. I don't live there. I have a fault window in my flat; shall I send the bill for the repairs to Mr Davies in return for my generous contribution?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Just when you thought it couldn't get worse...

Pah! As if. I think we're all used to the fact that no matter how bad things are those bastards in power and their sycophantic hangers on want to push it further.

Latest on the list of those people who clutch their throat and shriek at even the thought of a libertarian idea is David Sexton writing in The Standard today on the subject of smoking.

These days rabbits are larger and more feral, no longer living sociably in cosy warrens.

A similar change seems to have overtaken smokers since the smoking ban of 2007. The remaining smokers are now much more aggressive.

Having been prevented from indulging in their workplaces, they now inhale their poison with a kind of vengeful fury as soon as they can

That's right. When we are forced to stand outside in the cold to indulge in an activity which isn't illegal and provides the exchequer with oddles of cash for them to spend on buying voters we're just doing it to be vengeful beasts. It's nothing to do with the fact that we just want a smoke and there's no where else to go.

So one perverse result of the ban is that there is much more smoking visible on the streets than there used to be. It is not a pretty sight.

Smokers seem to be physically sucking on their ciggies with a new sort of vehemence. It's hardcore now.

Outside every office, shop and pub, non-smokers have to run a gauntlet of such smokers. We don't enjoy it.

Gosh, you have to walk past people standing on the streets smoking. In the open air? With that huge space all around you? The law of unintended consequences is a right bitch. Next thing you know the government will be legislating about things which don't concern them and that thing might be something you'll enjoy.
It now seems simply bizarre that people used to be allowed to smoke in planes, on the Tube, in hospitals, offices and restaurants.

In time, it will seem equally improbable that they could once do so with impunity in the faces of people sharing public space outside.

The arguments may no longer be about the dangers of secondary smoking but they are no less compelling. It's not just that they smell so terrible and throw their butts everywhere.

It doesn't seem bizarre. The only thing that is bizarre is that people just sit back and let the government take away their liberties. It's a sad state of affairs when an argument for banning something is that it smells. Does that mean that I can ban Old Spice, brussel sprouts and cabbage? Just because I don't like it?
When you see a smoker, sucking in hard as soon as he or she gets to the threshold, what you are seeing is not just addiction but self-harming of the most terrible kind. Half of all regular smokers are killed by their habit.

No other vice, not even drinking to excess, is so directly and inherently suicidal. We would not find it acceptable to see people routinely setting fire to themselves in public.

Yet that is precisely what smoking in public is equivalent to. Children should not grow up thinking that's normal.

Er, hello? Was that a misprint? Someone didn't just compare having a cigarette to setting yourself on fire? Because it's fucking ridiculous that someone would even contemplate saying that let alone it sneaking past sub editors and finding itself on a page of a newspaper, even if it is now a free sheet. Next thing we won't be allowed to have a glass of wine without reminding ourselves that it's the equivalent of running a sharp blade along bare skin or a hamburger without being concerned that a child may be traumatised at the self harm being displayed so grotesquely. What are people thinking of!
Properly understood, smoking is a moral affront every time. So long as we smile on it, we are approving a holocaust.

So not only are we rotting the brains of the future generation but we're also exterminating people on a mass scale without their say so?

Are we still talking about smoking here or has David Sexton just got his todger out and decided to write his article by slapping it about on the keyboard?

If this illiberal affront to civilised society was intentional I might suggest that he try the latter option to ensure that his next offering to the people of London is not the literary equivalent of my cat's litter tray after someone forgot to let him out in the morning?

Best music review ever

Is found at 'Pop Justice' when discussing a Christmas Single by girl group The Stunners:

If you're looking for this year's most crass and self-serving Christmas charity single you may have found your winner: 'Santa Bring My Soldier Home' by US girlgroup The Stunners. The band may be familiar to a couple of you already - they're like Pussycat Dolls without the subtlety or the complex feminist agenda and they've got a brilliantly-titled song called 'Dancing Around The Truth' which sadly has all the originality and natural energy of a mid-ranking track on the current Saturdays album.

'Santa Bring My Soldier Home' - which, it's fair to say, slightly overestimates Santa's true level of influence on the world politics stage...

Go read the rest and also take a look at that video.

Would it be cruel of me to suggest that even Santa, however fictional, would be better at representation on the world stage than Baroness Ashton?

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Guest Post: democracy in Switzerland

Please note: the author is not The Lovely Trixy

Minarets and direct democracy

Since last Sunday it seems that Switzerland has become a country with an intolerant population, a place where the freedom of religion doesn’t count anymore. I’d like to give a reflection about this issue. What happened? The Swiss decided about an initiative, launched by the Swiss People’s Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei, SVP) and other small parties and organizations, for banning the construction of minarets in Switzerland. 57% of the Swiss citizens said yes to this initiative in a referendum.

What was the case history leading to this initiative? In four different towns in Switzerland there exist minarets. Those exist since the 1960s. Since 2006 there have been applications by many Muslims all over Switzerland to build new minarets. The residents of the affected towns in Switzerland argued and protested against the construction of these new buildings. That’s why a national committee launched this initiative and collected more than 100000 signatures for it: they wanted a clear and consistent rule for or against the construction of minarets in the whole country.

The minaret is not part of the religious practice of Islam. The minaret is a sign of power, rulership and conquest, which is also confirmed by experts on the Islamic culture and religion. The minaret is a symbol of a political Islam and shows its dominance in a country. In 1997, the mayor of Istanbul and today’s Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, compared minarets with bayonets.

That’s the reason why a committee started a campaign against these buildings. The minaret is only the first step of further demands. Soon afterwards they claim the Muezzin, the introducing of the Sharia law and the acceptance of those rules. We could see these developments in other countries and cities, where the beginning was similar. And now, in the suburbs of Berlin or Paris, a parallel society has established and the Sharia is the only law which counts.

And even in Switzerland we have problems with some muslim families. I am talking about girls who are not allowed to go in swimming lessons and I am talking about forced marriages. Our politicians didn’t want resolve these wrongs. I don’t know why, maybe because of Political Correctness, who knows. But now, after the referendum, we can talk about these problems. We can talk about what kind of Islam we want in Switzerland and which parts of it are incompatible to our laws and orders.

Please let me say: This initiative was and is not against religious freedom. Muslim people are allowed – as well as Christians, Jews, Hindi and all others – to practise their religion freely at home and in their mosques. But the minaret is not necessary for the Muslim people to pray. It is important to understand that this initiative was never against the Islamic religion. But in a Christian country it is not acceptable that other religions show signs of power or conquest. That would be a negation of the Christian roots and the origin of the Swiss culture.

The initiative was supported by the Swiss People’s Party which represents the conservative-libertarian wing of the Swiss Parliament. But also feminist groups and the society of ex-muslims advised a yes. All other parties and the Swiss Federal Council – the executive of Switzerland – did not support the initiative. According to this fact, the clear result of almost 60% of yes-votes in this referendum is obvious. It represents the great majority of the Swiss voters and their will.

After the referendum, I was really shocked and upset about the reaction of the political elite and the press in foreign countries. “Switzerland is intolerant, Switzerland breaks human rights laws, Switzerland has to vote again about this initiative.” What the hell is that? The initiative was launched by a committee which has collected more than 100’000 signatures for it. There was a debate in the Swiss Parliament and there were a lot of town hall meetings, talks and adversary podiums to inform the people during the referendum campaign. The discussions were factual. And now, a majority of 57% said yes to this initiative. To say that this initiative breaks human rights laws or restricts the freedom of religion, that’s not true. The minaret is not necessary for praying and there are a lot of mosques – even in Islamic countries – which has no minaret.

It is a shame, that foreign countries criticise the democratic vote of the Swiss people. I think that politicians from France, the UK or Germany should resolve their problems firstly. In Britain there are Islamic fanatics who are shouting “Freedom go to hell” and “Sharia is the answer”. In Holland, a stage director was killed because he produced a islam-critical movie. In Denmark, cartoons “provocated” massive and violent riots. Before those politicians say, that the freedom of religion is menaced in Switzerland, they should wonder if the freedom of speech is still in force in their own country. And a revision is no option. The Swiss will not act like the Irish: To vote until the political elite is satisfied.

The people don’t want minarets; they don’t want a political Islam. And not only Swiss think so. Just read the messages on Times online, Spiegel online (Germany) or Krone Zeitung (Austria). Most people also want to have a referendum about those issues. It shows me that the politicians – and the press too – are really far away from the will of the people.

David Herzig

All you need is meat

AS readers may well be aware, I am a vegetarian. But that doesn't mean that I impose my views on everyone else and forces them to do what I want, else I would have run for parliament years ago.

I was amused by this video from the European Parliament where Sir Paul McCartney flew over to Brussels to tell people what to eat because, he thinks, we're all going to die from cows farting.

Never mind the enormous amounts of hot air which emerges from European Parliament committee meetings or the vast waste that is the monthly jaunt to Strasbourg, the answer to the fiction that we're all going to boil to death whilst polar bears swim around the Thames is that we have to eat is dead wife's sausages. Minus the ones with thumbs in.

We had Prince Charles obsessed with the greenie weenies (nothing to do with his advisor, I'm sure. Oh no) and now a be-at-le. What next? Will Natalie Portman be parachuted into the land where fiction rules to tell us all that we have to wear her vegan shoes? Will Helen Mirren take a stand against 'global warming' and keep her clothes on in a film?

Why do I have to be lectured by people who know fuck all about how I live my life? I already have to spend my evenings bumping into furniture because the European Union has decided that I am not allowed proper lightbulbs in my own house and my cigarette packets are covered in pictures so vile they can only be of MEPs. Why is there this obsession by people to continually tell me what to do? Fuck. Off. Fuck Off. I don't tell you how to live your life so could you do me the courtesy of keeping your nose out of mine? You already spend my money without asking and refuse to allow me to participate in democracy but you've reached the stage where the only solution can be to call in air strikes.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Polly - no reputable scientists refute AGW

I have been sent this little snippet by a reader regarding an event held in London this week by Godfrey Bloom MEP where people were encouraged to talk about the possibility of climate change not being man made. Risky stuff, what. Far as the BBC is concerned they don't even need to have anyone talking about the risks of Copenhagen let alone someone who says that climate change has happened before and that recently temperature has been declining.

Dear Mrs Toynbee

In the light of irrefutable evidence that the globe is now cooling, together with the significant swing in opinion by independent scientists against the anthropogenic climate warming hypothesis, we feel it is time for a re-appraisal of the dogma “the science is settled”.

There is now a very serious financial threat especially to the emerging economies from drastic and ill conceived policies by politicians and those with vested interests.

We have seen recently in the United Kingdom the enormous pressure for government scientists to toe the line or face dismissal.

We are familiar with the bogus statistics in the form of the hockey stick graph from the IPCC, an organization disingenuously posturing as scientific not political.

To redress the balance of information we have asked one of the world’s leading academics in the discipline of climate change to make a presentation at the Royal Over-Seas League, Over-Seas House, Park Place, St James's Street, London, SW1A 1LR on 1st December 2009 before the less rational jamboree begins in Copenhagen on December 7th.

Professor Ian Rutherford Plimer from the University of Adelaide will make a
presentation of his research to a selected audience of opinion formers and take questions.

This is an unrivalled opportunity to raise the level of debate before it
is too late.

As the lunch will be held in a club, Gentleman’s Club dress is the order of the day.

At first it would appear that there was no response but when asked again we get this delightful reply:

Sorry, but I have absolutely no time to waste on non science that has been
comprehensively disproved by all the world scientists of any weight or

So there you go. Prof Plimer doesn't know what he's talking about even though he's a geologist but an economist knows all about the climate. And a Guardian columist also has the authority to decide who is a reputable scientist and who isn't. Well, she'd know. She's never wrong. Is she.

If you have time on your hands you could visit this completely inaccurate blog which uses statistics rather than rhetoric. He won't be getting a column in the Guardian!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A thought

Whilst the weather is bad and I'm feeling sad, a quick thought about the Teletubbies.

It must be a nice place to live: green fields, flowers and rabbits along with a sun that always shines, even if it does have a slightly scary face. And even a vague consideration for the environment and EU legislation with a singular windmill.

That voice thing might have Orwellian overtones, though.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Films vs Stats?

This was posted in my comments section and I rather like it because it highlights how the Greenie Weenies are happy to completely ignore such things like facts and instead base their debates on films.