Thursday, July 31, 2008

on this day

in 1965, cigarette advertising on British television was banned.

I hadn't realised it was that long ago, but I suppose i stayed high profile through sponsorship of televised events.

David Miliband as Labour leader?

I'm sure David will make an excellent Labour Party leader, once he's finished his gap year internship and completed his degree.

It would be nice to think that he will never be PM because by then it will probably be him and a few other delusioned socialst control freaks who have been marganilised by the great British voter.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Private mobile surveillance cameras, the latest intrusion

The Yorkshire Ranter has a post about an encounter with a private vehicle decked out with surveillance cameras:

There it waited, with a 4-way CCTV installation lunging out the roof like a Blairite erection...I took photographs, and the driver suddenly reversed. But he or she didn't go. So I called the phone number on the side - 08705 899799 - and demanded to know what they were looking for. They said - Surveillance. They wanted to know where I was. I wouldn't tell them. Why should they know? Shouldn't they be answering the questions?

So I asked what it was surveilling. "Well, things," said the Geordie on the line. I asked him who the scheme controller was under the Data Protection Act. "I don't know." "IT'S YOUR LEGAL DUTY TO KNOW." So, I said, I'll just have to report the company to the polis then won't I? And I will, as soon as I've consulted the guys from Spyblog.
When and how did we get to this? We seemed to have moved from the police doing surveillance to local authorities to what appears to be approved vigilantes.

I liked this in the comment section:
I'm going to adopt a black-and-white check scheme on my car, plaster it in "Working in partnership with the police" stickers (I have my council tax bill to prove it) and see what happens.
Whenever I saw things like this I used to comment using well know quotes "all it needs for evil to triumph...." or that we cannot sacrifice freedoms for security and all the rest of the well known quotes. But as I comment on the post there is a standard rejoinder from the hard of thinking, who seem to be in the majority, or at least have politicians quaking:

If you've nothing to hide....

Pleeeease, won't anyone think of the chiiiillldreen....

Go and read the full post and omments and look at the pics, it is frightening.

on this day

in 1900, London Underground's Central Line was opened by the Prince of Wales, with a two pence (tuppence) fare for all destinations.

If we just take inflation since then according to this site it should cost just 74p for that ride now instead of the £4 now (£1.50 on Oyster).

What is Harriet Harman really denying?

Politicians really do take us for fools. In the latest speculation over a leadership bid to oust Brown she is quoted:

Harriet Harman said again that she was not planning a leadership bid. "When a woman says no, she means no," she said.
I quite believe where she says she isn't planning a leadership bid, but that's not what we want to know. Does she rule out standing if there is another challenger? The answer to that I suspect would also be no.

Surely they all realise that its weasel words like these that drive us in to holding politicians in such contempt?

How secure are those stolen passports?

Thieves who got away with 3,000 blank passports and visas worth around £2.5 million targeted the van as it stopped at a newsagent's, police have said.
Leaving aside the lax security, we've been there too often, who do you believe when it comes to the impact assesment?

The Governement line:
The passport service said the stolen documents could not be used by thieves because of their hi-tech embedded chip security features.
Or Privacy International:
"The presence of so many potentially strong false identities would have a very high black-market value — perhaps in the range of £20m — and so a criminal enterprise would easily justify making the investment to hack the chip."
Me? I'll go with the ingenuity of theives anytime. Security has always been an arms race between and no matter how secure we make something theives will always find a way round it, for a price. In this case £20m is certainly a good incentive.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Umm, its broke, innit?

The punch line to this is great:

A £6,000 sculpture on display at an exhibition in London, curated by artist Tracey Emin, has been smashed.

A visitor fell into a cordoned-off area, knocking the work to the floor where it broke into hundreds of pieces.

I go to the Royal Academy summer exhibition every year and there is some good stuff and some real crap and price isn't really a guide. They also do stuff it in to some of the rooms so it is hardly surprising this accident happened.

What really tickled me was this response:
It added that the Royal Academy was now "arranging for a conservator to come in to assess the damage so that we can inform our insurers".
Its in thousands of pieces, what more do they need to know? Pay up £6k and move on. It will cost more than £6k to stick back together and who wants a maze like figurine?

Idioicy of new murder laws

Labour really have taken leave of their senses over the new murder laws?

Firstly they want to make life easier for women who have suffered long term abuse to be spared a murder charge:

The partial defence of "fear of serious violence" could be used by long-term domestic abuse victims, arguing they were forced to kill their abuser.
If someone is being attacked and during that attack manages to kill their assailant while protecting themselves judges are all too often willing dismiss the charge or impose minimal sentences. But that wasn't why the change was brought about from my understanding of the discussion on Radio 4 this morning.

This change is aimed at women who, after years of abuse, kill their spouse, not in the heat of battle, but in a planned way. If they have the presence of mind to plan a killing when their spouse is asleep/drunk/distracted then they should have the presence of mind to get out of the relationship. If the judge thinks that there were exceptional circumstances they don't have to give a life tarriff they can recommend early release.

I appreciate that the convicted person will always be free under licence but they have committed the ultimate crime in a cold blooded way and should know that society holds life to be sacrosanct, no matter how much of a scroat the murdered person was.

This one is the real belter though:
And in "exceptional circumstances" a defendant could successfully claim they killed in response to words or conduct that left them feeling "seriously wronged".
How long do you reckon it will be before someone from the religion of peace uses this as an excuse for killing someone who has, say, drawn a cartoon of the their prophet? And how long before it gets accepted as a legitimate defence?

I don't support the death penalty for murder, no matter how foul, but we have to make sure that this isn't seen as somehow accepting or even condoning cold blooded killing, no matter what the circumstances.

The sooner we get rid of these buffoons who are masquerading as a intelligent human beings the better for all of us.

Excuse of the day

From The Magistrate we get this wonderful excuse, which even he admits is a first, for driving while disqualified:

We had a new one last week though. Darren was stopped driving his mate's car, that turned out to be uninsured. Darren's ban had run its course, but since he hadn't yet taken the test ordered by the disqualifying court he remained banned from driving. He hadn't meant to drive, but he had been at the mate's house with a few others when they realised that they had run out of cocaine, so Darren was nominated to go and score a fresh supply. He put this forward in a matter-of-fact manner as if it was the most normal thing in the world. In his world, it probably is.
He doesn't say whether he was more lenient for originality or whether he had to hide a smirk, but I'm sure I would have done both.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Labour's muddled thinking on voting for 16 year-olds

Tucked away in the small print from Labour's National Policy Forum at Warwick University we find that they have voted to reduce the age of majority from 18 to 16. Leaving aside that this is purely political because you people are more likely to vote with their hearts and not their heads, they really don't seem to have thought this through.

By lowering the voting age to 16 we are saying that at that age you are mature enough to be a full and respected member of society and can partake in all its splendour, except of course that Labour doesn't really trust you:

You will be compelled to stay on at school to age 18 so they can reduce the unemployment count that you can earn more qualifications

You cannot smoke as Labour has just raised the age at which you can buy tobacco

You are not old enough to drink, drive, stand as an MP and are subject to a whole host of other restrictions.

I'm against lowering the age, but not by much but if it does happen I hope we are going to do it properly and not have 2nd class citizens based on age.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The air is think with the cackle of chickens coming home to roost

The government is considering re-writing its own rules on how much it can borrow in order to counter the effects of the economic slowdown.
BBC political editor Nick Robinson said officials were drafting a looser framework so that the Treasury would not have to break the present borrowing limit of 40% of national income.

The rules were laid down by Mr Brown as Chancellor after Labour came to power in 1997.

It is predicted these will be breached as the government faces an £8bn tax revenue shortfall because of the current economic climate.

My schedenfreude is only tempered by the knowledge that I will be one of those who suffers because of Gordon Brown's incompetence and weak thinking.

Ah yes , the governement spokemen claim, but is is an international problem beyond our control. Well maybe it that is the case, but it was always bound to happen. There was always goind to be something that gave the economy a kicking, and as there is a history of oil prices being a problem it is not unreasonable for planners to allow for that.

But that's not the point. We have had 16 years of growth. With the exception of the past couple of months this Government has had economic growth. Nobody in their right mind expects that the good times will last forever and plans for a rainy day by saving.

But not Gordon, no he lauded over us relishing in the praise of his acolytes in the MSM and even international bodies. And what was he doing during this period? Shafting prudence and spending money faster than a drunken sailor on shore leave after 2 years at sea. What's more, he's given us a dose of the pox to go with it.

And just in case anybody thinks that borrowing a bit more in bad times for Index is OK, it isn't. It is a deferred tax and what's more it will be gathering interest.

How I hate them all and the sooner Brown is consigned to the dustbin of history the better.

Now its state sponsored Islamic thinking

Is there on end to the feeble minded thinking that passes for Government? It should be no surprise to learn that this latest bout of "something must be done" comes from Hazel Bleaers.

The British government is to fund a board of Islamic theologians in an attempt to sideline violent extremists.

Under the plans, the two universities will bring together leading thinkers, yet to be named, to debate critical issues affecting Muslims in the UK.

The Department for Communities is responsible for the government's strategy to combat violent extremism, known as "Prevent".
Leaving aside that the Government should stay out of religion, do they really think that those who are being led by fundamentalists will really listen to this board? These are young, angry, people who are rebelling against the country, our life and their own moderates. Any pronouncements from what they see as a Government mouthpiece are going to have the exact opposite affect.
But Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said it was government's job to support Muslim leaders on controversial issues.
No it isn't. It is the job of the government to make sure everyone obeys the law of the land and catch and punish those that don't. Ideally we would like them to prevent crimes from happening through intelligence and patient detective work. How some people organise themselves to worship some ancient peasant is none of our business, as long as it is within the law.
The board's work will focus on examining issues relating to Islam's place in Britain and obligations as a citizen
So its first and only meeting will last about 5 minutes then, as I said there is only one issue - Muslims must obey the law of the land.
Taji Mustafa of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a group that fought government attempts to ban it, predicted that many ordinary Muslims would be suspicious.
Too right they will be. Funnily enough those of us who aren't Muslims are a bit suspicious as well.
We don't like our money being used either.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Which moron came up with this idea?

Young people who carry knives will be made to visit hospitals where stabbing victims are treated, in a bid to shock them into changing their behaviour.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said seeing "gruesome" injuries would be a tougher deterrent than sending all knife carriers in England and Wales to jail.

Isn't there anyone in Government or the civil service capable of thinking through the courses of this action? It took me about 10 secs to come to this unintended consequence:

  • Yoof caught carrying knife - because everyone else does and it is a fashion item.
  • Yoof taken to see stab victim is is duly shocked.
  • Yoof concludes that if this is what happens when you get stabbed he needs better protection
  • Yoof thinks about option - longer knife? - too easy to get caught. Sword? Not exactly practical and how do you get one? Gun? Now that makes sense; easy get hold of (the Daily Mail says so, easy to hide, and best of all nobody with a knife will come near me if they see this.
Great, now we can expect an upsurge in gun crime.

We really are governed by the hard of thinking.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Does anyone support and defend Gordon?

Other than the usual sycophants and parliamentary and Labour payroll votes.

This wasnt meant to be a rhetorical question; I asked it of myself after reading this from The Magistrate:

There is a crisis in knife crime. So the Prime Minister is going to tackle it.
Righty-ho Mr.PM, sir;
What plan will you work out this weekend that has evaded the rest of us over the years?
What will you do that could make a shred of difference to London's underclass, starting Monday?
Why didn't you do it last week? Or last year?
Won't this just serve to distract senior police from getting on with their job?
Just how stupid do you think we are?
The Magistrate is a fairly level headed person and hasn't shown a great tendency to got directly involved in politics and Brown bashing for the sake of it/ This got me thinking that I must look for some arguments that support Gordon as it is not good to keep getting my own prejudices reinforced. (I was given this advice by an Army Education Major a long time ago and have found it to be very valuable).

Don't get me wrong, I try to read a wide range of views and opinions and I take quite a few left of centre blogs in my RSS feeds, most notably LabourHome, Neil Harding, The Yorkshire Ranter, John B (Banditry and Sharpener) and Labour and Capital. None of these is a cheerleader for Gordon and indeed as this post from Labourhome show, the left can be just as vitriolic in their condemnation of Brown as the right:
Are there really people out there who think Gordon Brown should continue to lead the Labour Party? I find it hard to believe.

As I have said before I do think Gordon is a decent man and is driven by decent values - after all he spent most of the last 11 years attempting to radically reduce poverty both here and in the developing world.

But he is just out of his depth as Prime Minister and that is damaging all of us in the Labour Party and, ultimately, the country.

You won't get any argument from me on that third paragraph, which is the reason for this post.

Gordon seems to be hated by those on the right as much as the left hates Maggie, but what is different is that Maggie has many defenders of independent thought, not just the payroll vote. Try as I might I can't find one independent supporter of Gordon who backs his personality, policies and leadership, even if qualified, and thinks he is a good Prime Minister.

So if you are one or know of one please leave a link as I really would like to read the arguments.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The stupidity of the money laundering laws

I have always known that they were stupid and bureaucratic, but I hadn't realised the extent. We've all heard stories of having to present ourselves at the bank with passports, driving licences and other identity document to become a signatory on a hobby club bank account with £50 in it, but hey these could be international terrorists looking to launder money and we can never be too careful.

But I didn't expect to have to go through it when I was moving money around my own accounts at the suggestion and with the help of my financial advisor. We have been with this advisor for 8 years and they have been trading for over 30 years. Before then we were with a company they bought for 6 years. They themselves are regulated to the nth degree and every year we go through the performance of a full "health check".

Well, because we are opening a new fund, but with a large company we have other funds with, we now have to go through the whole process again - passports, driving licences, bank statement and other declarations. I'm sure it must

Still, it keeps the bureaucrats in a job and the politicians have "done something".

Councils 'happy not to sell data'

WTF is this all about I thought when saw the headline. Well it seems that the state has yet again been demonstrating how it owns us and selling information about us which we have to submit to get on the electoral register.

Individuals can ask councils not to pass on their details to firms.
Oh so its our fault then. Just like any common consumer using the web I have to search through the small print and find that box that says I want my data kept secure and not sold to some markeing firm.

But fear not, it appears our saviour was the Govenrment, but not for the reasons you may think. No its not because it should be secure data that we have to provide if we want to vote, not because its not their to sell in the first place. The reason is spin:
The government-commissioned review said providing electoral roll information to marketing firms gave a "poor message".
Thats right, itgives a poor message. Fucking right it does if I had realised this I would have given the a real poor message.

And the response of the local authorities?
But the Local Government Association told the BBC it was "no skin off our noses" to stop, as the practice was "fiddly" and made "very little money".
Oh diddums, it was a fiddly job and they didn't get much money.

is there anyone working for the state who has the merest concern for our civil liberties? Are they all so divorced from the real world that they never think that they are in a position of responsibility and have access to personal information that we don't want shred with the local Viagra salesman?

And they wonder why they are held in such contempt. Bastards, the lot of em.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Dawn Butler MP

Today I had the misfortune to be working from home and listening to Radio 5 Live's analysis of PMQ's. Labour's representative on the programme was Dawn Butler MP. I had never heard of her until today and now I know why - she is a typical New labour mouthpiece who is incapable of independent though and intelligent debate.

When the discussion turned to David Davis and the by-election her only comments were that it was costing us £85k, a point she repeated ad nauseum. Not once did she attempt to debate the issues and she couldn't even put together a coherent argument why Labour wasn't standing.

So Dawn, lets look at your £85k claim and what it means:

Your Govt spends over c.£600bn pounds a year so that £85k won't even enter be recorded as a rounding error. So why were you worried about it?

I see that it is less that your expenses which were £157,311 and you were the 32nd most expensive MP in Parliament, some achievement given the others you are competing against. I also note that your travel expenses were £1,185 - how did you spend that much when you constituency is Brent (Wembley for those who don't know London), you could walk round it in less than 1 hour and its only a cheap bus ride to parliament.

Just a thought, but how much has been saved by David not drawing his salary or expenses between his resignation and the by-election? I'll bet you didn't even think about netting that off did you? No, I'll bet you just slavishly sprouted the number.

But I suppose your opposition to David's stance costing us money would be justifiable if you yourself applied that same principle to how our Govt spends money, but you don't, you support ID cards, how much will they cost? £18Bn according to the BBC and we still don't even have a good reason for them other than authoritarian control of us proles.

Talking of which, I also note that you have never voted on a transparent parliament, now there's a surprise, you wouldn't want us proles knowing what you were up to. I see you were also for putting landlords out of business and banning smoking on private businesses premises. (and no, I don't smoke)

All I can say is I'm glad your not my MP as you sound like a typical socialist authoritarian control freak who who doesn't have a clue about liberties and rights.

The sad thing is that you have such a large majority that it is unlikely that you will get your just deserts at the next general election.

Human rights legislation used to justify restricting right to protest

Last night I was dosing off listening to The World Tonight when at 22:40 they had a pices entitled Are civil liberties underthreat? It was the usaual litany of abiuse of the DNA database, 42 days etc but at the end they had a piece about the way local authorities are restircting the right to protest.

The case the used was a protest in Lancaster that was licenced but it inlcuded a steel band. The local authority issued a warning letter that the protest was illegal and shouldn't go ahead, it did. At this point I was starting to listening more intently and couln't beleive my ears when a buracrat came on to justify their rights to curtail freedom. I have listened againthis morning (5:35 mins in) and this is what she said:

..not at all, human rights legislation provides for freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, but those are qualified rights and they are subject to any restriction that governement deems fit to impose, the licencing legislation....
And what was the crime of Kerry Mumford and her fellow protestors? They were protesting against a city centre development and the protest contained "unlicensed music and dancing". A real threat to demcracy then?

So there you have it, in the immortal words of Lord Melbourne:
"What all the wise men promised has not happened and what all the dammed fools said would happen has come to pass".
They are using the human rights legislation to restrict our long held right to peaceful protest.

Another one for David Davis to add to his campaign issues

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Dave to lock me up

I wasn't paying attention to the Dave's knee jerk spin about knives recently and wasn't aware that he will be throwing me in jail alongside when Simon Clarke of From The Barrel of a Gun fame:

Call-Me-Dave has today said that anybody caught carrying a knife should go to jail, and that "carrying a knife on our streets is completely inexcusable and unacceptable in a civilised society."
Being an irresponsible individual who is a great threat to society I sometimes carry one of these:
It is quite a viscous knife that cuts through the thickest rope with ease so flesh should be no problem at all. If PC plod is reading I will be walking round the streets of Nefyn, North Wales, in early August carrying one. Indeed if you turn up then you will get a great bogof as my mate will also be carrying one.

And if any copper wants to increase his arrest rate and fill our jails when Dave gets in all he needs to do is go to any coastal town where people are sailing and wait for them to come ashore. If you don't see a knife like this on them the best place to look when you search them is that little pocket on the front of something they will be wearing that will look something like one of these:

You see, Dave, that viscous knife is a safety knife that sailors carry for emergencies like capsizing and getting tangled up in ropes and start drowning. In these situations we have seconds and a knife like this will save our lives.

But what do our politicians care? They kneed jerk to the Daily Mail, pass a law and tell everyone that the problem is fixed. But in our world of unintended consequences you can bet that thugs will continue with their lives and innocent people like me, my mate and Simon will get harassed.

Monday, July 07, 2008

How can anyone doubt the evil consequences of the EU?

As it is always at the last moment that we get to hear about the flood of new laws from our masters in the EU in which they slip through some innocent looking but ultimately totalitarian laws and regulations. In this case we have a new Telecoms Packet being voted on today:

"The current fragmentation hinders investment and is detrimental to consumers and operators," says the EU document laying out the proposals.

What? We’ve gone from SFA to the Internet and WWW (yes, they are different) in less than 20 years without the help of single politicians, despite Al Gore’s erroneous claims, without their help, and now they want in on the act and the outcome is likely to be more wasted money. But this isn’t the problem, no, behind this innocent looking ideal is something quite sinister [my emphasis]:
Among the amendments are calls to enact a Europe-wide "three strikes" law. This would see users banned from the web if they fail to heed three warnings that they are suspected of putting copyrighted works on file-sharing networks.

Note that – suspected – not proven guilty, not even charged, just that some bureaucrat somewhere thinks you might be file sharing. It is very easy to suspect someone of file sharing, you just ask an ISP for a list of their top 10% highest users by data transfer and point the finger at them. You’d be surprised how much data people transfer nowadays, 100’s of gigabytes per month is not unusual.

So now we have the evil empire banning people from the web on the grounds that they transfer more data than everyone else and there is nothing they can do about it. No charge, no habeas corpus, no presumption of innocence, just bureaucratic sanction.

But that’s not the end. Having given themselves the power to ban people from the web they will control those who they permit to use it:
In addition it bestows powers on governments to decide which programs can be "lawfully" used on the internet.

Yes, the PC inspectors will be out in force making sure you have only approved software and that it hasn’t been modified. No doubt at some point they will pick up powers that give them unrestricted access to your premises to make sure, probably by bringing it under Revenue and Customs jurisdiction.

Why are they doing this? Apart from their inherent need to control every aspect of our lives and the way we think:

But, say digital rights campaigners, anti-piracy lobbyists have hijacked the telecoms laws and tabled amendments that turn dry proposals on industry reform into an assault on the freedom of net users.

The great alignment of vested interests and politicians strikes again and, as always, it’s never in our interest that they collude. I wonder how many boondoggles it took to get the legislation changed.

And how much will this cost? Why should they care, it isn’t their money after all.
H/T Devils Kitchen who makes the very salient point:
And, the key thing to remember is that, if this is passed, you can throw out every, single British government from now to kingdom come and this EU law will still apply.
If any Europhile can show how this is in my best interests or even needed I will make a £100 donation to their favourite, non-political, charity.

MP's mistake, our fault

I often joke with my team when something has gone wrong that its my mistake, their fault. It seems that Gordon is taking this literally:

Britons must stop wasting food in an effort to help combat rising living costs, Gordon Brown has said as he travelled to the G8 summit in Japan.

The PM said "unnecessary" purchases were contributing to price rises, and urged people to plan meals in advance and store food properly.

Something is going on and it isn't our fault. People didn't wake up last year and think that it would be a good idea to use their hard earned cash, well the bit that's left after confiscatory levels of taxes imposed on us,to buy more food and then throw it down the drain. That we waste food I don't dispute, but it isn't new.

Furthermore, we haven't suddenly found a couple of extra billion human beings to feed, let alone start to divert extra food to the poor and starving in the third world.

No, this problem is the direct consequence of the feeble minded thinking of our elected politicians*. They are the ones who set unproven biofuel targets without thinking about the consequences:

An internal report put together by the World Bank and leaked to the Guardian claims that biofuels may be responsible for up to 75 percent of recent rises in food prices.

We pay these people a lot of money and they spend even more on expensive consultants and they still can't work out that switching land from production from food production to fuel will cause a shortage in food.

And their response to this problem:

The EU says it will stick with proposals to expand the use of biofuels despite claims that the switch to green fuels is contributing to escalating world food prices and social unrest.
And of course we all know the reason for this Ostrich response - the great God, Global Warming. I won't there with this post, suffice to say that the scientific consensus is less than solid.

*I suppose the fact we elected them does imply some responsibility

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

MP's Pay Rise

If we, their employers, don't give them a pay rise will they go on strike?