Thursday, February 26, 2004
Liberals went predictably ape when they learned the name of St Ann's latest book. Surely, they whined, you couldn't accuse them of aiding and abetting traitors ? Well, judge for yourself:
A GCHQ translator sacked for revealing a secret e-mail has been cleared of a charge under the Official Secrets Act.
Katharine Gun, 29, from Cheltenham, claimed the e-mail was from US spies asking British officers to tap phones of nations voting on war against Iraq.
She walked free on Wednesday when the prosecution offered no evidence.
So the treasonous slag reveals classified information in the run-up to war and not only does she get away with it, she becomes a Liberal pin-up. But don't you dare say they hate Britain.
Mrs Gun had always said she had acted in an effort to prevent the war, and outside court said: "I have no regrets and I would do it again."
William Joyce probably had his reasons too, but unfortunatly he was working for a different mustachioed mass murderer.
The leaking of the e-mail to the Observer newspaper generated a row and saw Mrs Gun's case become a cause celebre in the US, with civil rights activist Jesse Jackson and actor Sean Penn lending their support.
Gosh, the Beeb fails to inform us that the Ugly Sisters were fellow Saddamites. Perhaps it slipped their mind ?
Human rights group Liberty, which supported Mrs Gun throughout her trial, said it was possible the prosecution's decision followed political intervention.
Liberty are speaking up for the fundamental human right to leak classified information to try and protect foreign tyrants. To judge by their classification as a 'human rights group', we're lucky the Beeb doesn't describe Al-Quadia as a 'middle eastern pressure group'.
There has been speculation the government was worried about the disclosure of secret documents during the trial, particularly the advice by Attorney General Lord Goldsmith about the legality of war.
Under the Official Secrets Act, the attorney general has the final decision on whether or not to prosecute.
But the attorney general's office told the BBC the decision to drop the charge had nothing to do with Lord Goldsmith's advice
It probably came about as a result of the government realising that should the jury actually take Nu Labour's culturally Marxist, Hate Britannia garbage at face value they'd be bound to acquit. Besides, the Saddam-coddling slag said she had no regrets and that's all the justification you need in our Oprahfied culture.
Mrs Gun's legal team served documents on the government on Tuesday demanding to see any advice given to ministers about the legality of the war.
The hypothesis that the law allows scumbag lawyers to go on irrelevant fishing expeditions to try and smear prosecution witnesses is hereby proven.
But BBC political correspondent Guto Harri said a government spokesperson insisted the decision to drop the case was taken before the demand for documents was made.
The same spokesperson suggested the case might have been dropped as Mrs Gun planned to argue she leaked the e-mail to save lives from being lost in a war, something that could persuade a jury and would lead to the reputation of the Official Secrets Act being damaged.
It says a ot about the U-bend down which our culture has gone that it's the defence lawyer that wants to argue she was trying to keep a homicidal dictator in power.
Our correspondent said this suggested the government had made a political calculation that a random selection of a dozen jurors would be likely to be so instinctively anti-war than an acquittal would be likely.
And whose fault is it that we can't find twelve people who'll recognise a traitor even when she's boasting about it on the court steps ?
Mrs Gun, who was sacked from GCHQ in June and charged on 13 November, thanked her family and friends for helping her through the case.
She told a news conference: "Obviously I'm not prone to leak secrets left, right and centre... but this needed to get out, the public deserved to know what was going on at the time.
The law's for the little people. No doubt she wouldn't mind if some patriot decided that traitors deserve to get their faces carved up with a stanley knife - just as long as he has 'no regrets'.
"I was pretty horrified and I felt that the British intelligence services were being asked to do something that would undermine the whole UN democratic processes."
UN democratic processes ? Like with all those well-known democracies like China, Syria and Pakistan on board ? The traitor doesn't need facts, she's got her feeeeeeeeeelings.
Mrs Gun revealed she was strongly anti-war but said she had not been looking for a piece of information to leak and embarrass the government.
"I'm just baffled in the 21st century we as human beings are still dropping bombs on each other as a means to resolve issues."
But crashing jets into office blocks is cool with her. She probably has the coverage from Sep 11 on a video so she can enjoy it again and again.
The memo, from January last year, reportedly said the National Security Agency had begun a "surge" in eavesdropping on UN Security Council countries crucial to the vote on a second resolution for action in Iraq.
Officials from Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria, Guinea and Pakistan all had their phones tapped in what the Observer described as a "dirty tricks" operation.
Our foreign intelligence services spy on foreign government operatives in a foreign land ? How low have we sunk ? Churchill would certainly never stoop to reading someone else's communications.
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said managers within the intelligence service might now be thinking about talking to members of staff about their concerns to prevent future whistleblowing.
Shami Chakrabarti, of Liberty, said the decision to charge Mrs Gun in the first place had been political.
"One wonders whether disclosure in this criminal trial might have been a little too embarrassing," she said.
Yes, Shami, but you wonder why it gets dark towards the end of the afternoon, so it's not like you're a good guide to what anyone from outside Moonbat Central thinks about anything.
The Liberal Democrats' foreign affairs spokesman Sir Menzies Campbell said: "It is possible the attorney general's legal advice might have been published at last. This is a government retreat.''
Trust the Lib Dems to sacrifice national security for crass grandstanding. Truly, they are the party of jevenile dementia.
Former spy David Shayler, jailed for revealing secrets, said a blanket of secrecy was used to protect intelligence matters that did not affect national security.
"If the intelligence services are going to do things that are illegal they have to expect people to whistleblow."
Yes, it's illegal for a British intelligence body to carry out operations targeted against foreigners in a foreign land. Also, you can drive through a built-up area at 60 mph providing you're wearing a milk man's hat. No wonder Fat Boy got sent down considering what an utter train wreck his knowledge of the law is. Never mind the question of what possible public interest there is in someone revealing that British intelligence targets foreign governments. Really ? You mean it isn't focused on Snowdonian hill farmers ?
This whole case has shone a laser-like light on the modern left. We are engaged in a war with people who want to destroy Western Civilisaton, and Liberal's idea of rising to the occassion is making heros out of anyone who pitches in to help the other side. This traitor's excuses are garbage: she helped Saddam to save lives and protect UN democracy (which is apparently the type of democracy which doesn't need actual democracies). To paraphrase the Instaman, she's not anti-war, she's just on the other side - and so are her fellow travellers.
Ann Coulter was too kind.
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Bluuurgh - there's nowt wrong with our voter registration system and everyone knows it. No problem at all - people in Blackburn really do live fifty to a house. Also this doesn't happen:
Brenda Gould is in trouble again for registering her cows as voters.
For the second year running, the woman from Newmarket, near Cambridge in eastern England, has listed two names on the registration form who turned out to be cows, East Cambridgeshire District Council said Thursday.
The previous year, in addition to registering two cows as "Henry and Sophie Bull," she listed "Jake Woofles," later found to be a dog, as eligible to vote in local government elections, the council said.
This year she indicated that her address had been split into two properties, that she resided in one part and that two other persons lived in the second, a council spokesman said. The persons she claimed lived in the second property were, in fact, her cows, the spokesman said.
OK - this is pretty funny, and they did detect it eventually (as in 'detect that Mr Woofles and the Bull family were fakes'), but it hardly inspires confidence in the system's ability to pick up anything less obvious than a daft pun. Add in the inevitable effect of PC on investigations into Asian voters and is it any surprise we have Blackburn's experiment in multiple house occupancy ?
Still, that's Liberals for you - always looking for new minority groups to grovel to. Now these found the ultimate minority - the existancely-challenged, the differently-real and the bogusity-gifted.
Littlejohn sums up perfectly how Nu Labour has betrayed the man in the street:
The people who really suffer in Labour’s two-tier Britain are those who can’t afford to pay twice and have to settle for what crumbs they’re given by the state.
There's trouble in the Dead Zone
University staff and students are taking action across the UK in protests about pay and top-up fees.
Thousands of lectures are reported to have been cancelled and organisers say more than 100 institutions have been hit.
A 365 day strike before each annual pay round would suit me just fine.
So, did I read somewhere that John Kerry served in Nam ? I sure I saw something about it.
Actually, that pretty much is Kerry's whole election strategy. Reminding people that he served in Nam while the current C in C was ordering tequilla by the bucket. Which means one particular charge - IF TRUE!!! - could blow him out of the water. One thing in it's favour is the place where it has been aired - The Village Voice, a mag so left-wing it makes the Guardian look like the voice of sanity. So go ahead, read it and remember how often Karry has come out with sub-Band of Brothers garbage.
Yes, indeed, just another normal day in British politic's very own psychiatric outpatient's clinic aka the Lib Dems. But, it does include the best summary ever of what the Lib Dems really stand for.
Plus, check out this entry here to see the Lib Dems at their race hustling best. Note the subtle underlining of the 'all' in 'Mayor for all of London'. Still a bit subtle though - perhaps he could ram the point home by featuring a photoshopped picture of Michael Howard dressed in Klan regalia ?
Can't usually be bothered with full-on Fisking but some people ask for it. Take this unpleasant piece of slime from unpleasant piece of slime Tim Hames.
The Pope, this newspaper reported on Saturday, is about to ensure that the first married woman acquires sainthood. Now that the precedent has been established, I would like to recommend Margaret Beckett for (eventual) canonisation.
Yay, one paragraph in and already a cheap shot at religion. How daring for a science geek to have a crack at His Holiness. Still, at least we've got the that over with we can get on with the rest of the article.
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, deserves this and other accolades for apparently convincing her colleagues in the Cabinet that there would be “no scientific case for an outright ban” on the cultivation of GM crops, and that it would be “irrational” for ministers to take the “easy way out” and concede one. If her view prevails, as seems probable, she will have struck a rare blow on behalf of sanity on the subject.
I've mentioned before that I think it's pathetic the way these people, supposed followers of the Way of Science, so easily lapse into Good Dog/Bad Dog terminolgy, but this paragraph is beyond satire.
Less obvious candidates for the place at the right hand of the Almighty are the Sunday Times journos who have exposed Andrew Wakefield’s claims about the MMR vaccine as “fatally flawed”. A partial absolution for past sins would be sufficient reward for them.
So who exactly said it was fatally flawed ? Timmy Boy ain't saying - fortunately Mel P is less reticent, as she explains why that verdict may be, just a little, questionable.
That the conflict of interests behind the Wakefield crusade has been outlined is welcome. It is a tragedy, however, that it has come after six years of ceaseless scaremongering.
Six years in which this supposedly devastating evidence could have been revealed, but wasn't, right up until now, just as the Courts are about to review the decision to withdraw legal aid from parents suing over alleged damage. Just fancy that!
What both the GM crops row and the MMR controversy reveal is a new (or rather the reversion to an old) division. For many years the character and role of the State has been the main faultline in British politics. But arguments about the State aren’t what they used to be, now that we are in an era when the two major parties are discussing whether public spending should be 42 per cent or 40 per cent of national income, each has agreed that health and education are the supreme national priorities and where the distinctions in their policies are largely technocratic.
Unless, of course, both parties are rushing to the centre prior to an election. Crazy theory I know, but it could happen.
Really, you think Timmy would at least try and grasp the basic details of how the country is governed prior to trying to lecture everybody else about the supremacy of the scientist.
What is emerging instead is a contest over the character and role of society. It can be witnessed in attitudes towards immigration, sexuality and women in the workplace. But above all it involves approaches to scientific progress.
Of course. It's all about science. The little stuff like Islamofascism, crime and taxation are all distractions. We really spend every waking hour thinking about you and your socially retarded mates, Timmy.
Now, what was that someone was saying about these people having delusions of granduar ?
The contrast is between optimism and pessimism, confidence and fatalism, change and continuity, hope and fear, reason and reaction.
Did I mention the Good Dog/Bad Dog thing ? Come apply your lips to the geek's over-developed backsides or you're a baby-eating savage. Alternatively, the fault line could be between those who claim that we are on the brink of a new era and so should junk all that mankind has learned over the past four millenia about governments and how to control them, and those of us who think democracy has still got a few years left yet.
The State is almost irrelevant to this debate.
Mainly because it has been captured and Vichyfied by fanatics like Timmy Boy. Nevertheless, the role of the state is one of the main points of dispute.
The GM and MMR disputes are the first of many similar contests, which is why their resolution is especially important.
At which point Timmy gobbles down the whole cake - either they are scientific issues or they are political, but you can't claim to be a dispassionate seeker after truth while claiming that choosing option B will result in the Earth falling into the Sun.
On both questions an oddball alliance has emerged — the old Left, the old Right and the New Age have united against what they perceive as an “establishment” consisting of Whitehall, big business and the scientific community.
Why drag Big Business into this ? I'm pretty sure that it wasn't Vodaphone that tried to smear Rose Addis or set up David Kelly. On the other hand is Kool Aid Tim really trying to convince us that government is not the major player in British Science ? Did BAe Systems buy out Reading Uni and no one's told me ?
This alliance rages against those it believes are out to poison food, injure children, fry our brains with waves from mobile phones and their masts, slice up cuddly animals for the fun of it and, under the cover of “therapeutic” cloning, develop a master race of which the Nazis would have been envious.
Listen, you Einstein wannabe, this sort of ridule works better when the paragraph before you haven't claimed Lord Tebbit, Arthur Scargill and Carole Caplin are all conspiring against you.
Such suspicions, and the sense of a shared enemy, have made unlikely bedfellows of the Daily Mail and The Guardian, which jointly oppose GM crops.
It's that confusion about politics again, init ? Timmy, my boy, put down the paper cup and listen: what this means is that your opponents have broad-based public support. Which raises an intresting question - just how much support do a group of people need before Timmy and his fellow drones will stop trying to claim they're a fringe element ?
This bizarre collection, apparently under the patronage of the Prince of Wales, has three features in common. The first is the reversion to a pre-Enlightenment view of humankind and history to a period before it was assumed that each succeeding generation was capable of doing, knowing and understanding more than the one before.
Or it could just be that we believe that the basic principles of government and the rights of man remain unchanged and unchangeable, and that being so, we have pledged ourselves to defend our system of government against all those who seek to strangle democracy under the guise of 'progress'.
The second shared facet is an extraordinary passion, a paranoia even, for conspiracy. Not only are politicians, civil servants, business executives and scientists behaving recklessly but they are doing so deliberately. It is as if the “GM” in genetically modified crops stands for General Motors and the letters MMR represent Ministers, Money and Research. These opponents are the sort of people who believe not only that John F. Kennedy died as a result of an elaborate plot, that Elvis Presley is alive and well somewhere on the Moon and that Diana, Princess of Wales, was fiendishly murdered, but that the same organisation is responsible for all three events. And they are running the cover-up on flying saucers.
Given that Timmy has just alleged in the self-same article that Prince Chuckie has conference calls with the editors of the Guardian and the Mail to plot how they'll drive Britain back into the middle ages, this may not be the best time to accuse anyone else of paranoia.
The third element is an attitude towards evidence that matches the credulity displayed by those who served on the O. J. Simpson jury.
Given that O J's lawyers generally presented their evidence in a way that was far more straightforward, honest and open than any British scientist has done since 1964, that's probably not surprising.
The fact that, on GM food, as the Royal Society put it, “the results of the farm-scale trials show that the weed management of the GM maize variety clearly has a less damaging effect on farmland wildlife than current conventional practice”, is deemed no more valuable than that some bloke in the pub reckons his ploughman’s lunch has started tasting peculiar lately.
Y'know it's a wild shot in the dark, but it could just be... maybe the public was not enthused by the contrast in risk and reward - here's a potentially dangerous technology and the pay-off for it is that it makes the weeding easier. Hallelujah!
The Wakefield “study” on MMR, which included a whopping 12 individual patients (some of whom, we are now told, were sent in his direction by parents already hostile to MMR), is deemed as valid as others that concluded that MMR was safe and that involved the study of three million children.
Great use of scare quotes 'Timmy' - you've got a career ahead of you at the Beeb. Parental hostility is indeed well known to affect the composition of the spinal fluid - or at least it is in the bizzaro world Tim enters every time he takes his special pills.
The real irony here is that those who favour logic and reason are far weaker than their opponents would suppose. Those most sympathetic to progress as a cause — the “modernisers” — are split between the three political parties, new Labour, the Conservative Portillistas and the heirs to Jo Grimond among the Liberal Democrats. And even among the activists among those groups they are not in a majority.
And this is the only true statement in the whole article. There is an alliance between the scienceistas and the alleged political progressives. Both base their world view on a mishmash of tranzi philosophy, cultural Marxism, elitist nonsense, self-idolatory and contempt for democracy, the rule of law, Britain in general, and its history and traditions in particular.
Despite the heroic efforts of a small number of underfunded groups, scientists remain inclined to fight separate battles over the likes of GM food, MMR, mobile phones, vivisection and therapeutic cloning, rather than combining forces to wage a wider war. Big businesses, partly because of competition between them, are similarly ineffective.
A little more conspiracy among the rational would, therefore, be helpful.
Again, I say why libel Big Business ? At least BP actually produces something useful, which is more than you can say about most publically funded research. Mind you, the whole rest of the paragraph is garbage too. While scienceistas may indeed not have an equivalent to SPECTRE HQ, there is as Timmy implies in the previous paragraph, a very definite agenda, a set of beliefs, political techniques and objectives which unite most of Britain's scientists. That they do not work even more closy together reflects the basic hollowness at the centre of their philosophy. These people seek to destroy all that has gone before and remake the world in their image. But whose image exactly ? These people sure boil over with rage about modern society but as far as ideas for what is to follow it ? Forget it. All they really agree on is that they should have more money and power and people should stop laughing at them. At the end of the day, we are talking about bitter, sociopathic losers who have been rejected by normal society and sought refuge in a weird subculture, feverishly planning for the 'post-democratic society' they will impose just as soon as they find a way to get past all us normal people. Bottom line: they don't work together because even they don't trust each other.
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Emperor Darth Misha I points to fantastic article on the man GWB has put in charge of reaching out to the terrorist community and making them dead. Best quote:
But Rumsfeld demanded results. At a conference of commanders at the Pentagon, he pulled Holland aside.
"Have you killed anyone yet?" he asked.
Sunday, February 22, 2004
So, 'Dunkirk' wasn't that bad after all. John Keegan liked it too. Certainly made a change compared with the BBC's usual output. So, I only have two things to say. Firstly, this is a really great book on Dunkirk (and seems to have inspired much of Part III). Second, given how often (and how long) we heard about 'Blue Planet', anyone prepared to bet how often the Beeb Kool Aid drinkers will cite 'Dunkirk' in the next year as an example of why the BBC reporting that Howard eats babies or hiring Jordan on a £5 million contract does not mean that it needs privatising pronto ?
The Free Democrat points out a doozy of a report from the L3 cadre group The Institute for Public Policy Research.
Pupils could be admitted to a federation rather than a school. They would be placed in, and possibly moved between, schools on the basis of a balance between parental preference, child's preference, child's need and community interests.
Let me guess which of those four factors they want to place the most emphasis on. Still, these loonies have summed up perfectly how the left views education. It isn't about children or learning - the left views education as a front in the culture war, with our kids as conscripts to be herded hither and yon as strategy demands.
Screw whether or not Letwin will cut school spending. As long as these moonbats are in charge we may as well flush the education budget down the U-Bend.
Depressing - I've always believed that no matter how bad things get in the EUSSR, there'll still be one shining city upon a hill. Oops - forgot about the Dimocrats. Their latest stupidity is a lu-lu. I'd mock it myself, but Misha says all that need be said.
As I've said several thousand times already, whatever you think happens when kids are injected with MMR, the performance of science's political wing has been a disgrace. These latest smears against Wakefield mark a new low.
Apart from anything else, the smear doesn't even make sense in the context of the scienceistas' own narrative. They have previously tried to cast Wakefield as an unhinged fanatic, yet now they claim he was actually a mercenary scuzball all along. Hello ? Which is it ? Crusader or hired gun ?
We'll leave aside the point that if Wakefield was really motivated by money then he would surely have done better to bow before the scienceistas, repent his heresy and accept the inevitable high-profile professorship in a top uni with a lifetime supply of grant money. What's really objectionable about these allegations is the sheer chutzpah of it all.
Wakefield, according to the official narrative, is untrustworthy because at the time he did his research into MMR he was also working on a similar study for the Legal Aid Board to investigate whether parents sueing over MMR-related damage had a case worth funding. In other words, Wakefield supposedly spun the study the way the parents wanted so that.... what exactly ? What did Wakefield hope to gain from producing bent results ? What was his payoff ? Even if you believe that he who pays the piper gets to pick the tune, note that the study was funded by the Legal Aid Board, an independant organisation funded by a government that had stood to face a firestorm if MMR was proven dangerous. If there was any pressure to spin, it was hardly in the direction of whistleblowing.
So, first principles tells us these allegations are ultralame. That's without taking into account that they were so shocking in nature that it was six years before anyone felt moved to comment on them. What does it mean when people dig up charges from half a decade ago ? Desperation, usually. But, here's the bit that really sticks in the throat: Big Science says Wakefield can't be trusted because, via an independant third party, he had a relationship with people who had an interest in him producing a specific result. Quick, someone buy the scienceistas a mirror. From day one this government has invested a lot of political capital in the safety of MMR - enough to ensure bankruptcy if the wheels come off - so how about the Lancet telling us how many of Wakefield's critics have received money from the government, are receiving money from the government or aim to in the future ?
It's not as if the government is even subtle about its attempts to spin the debate:
John Reid, the Health Secretary, yesterday backed calls for an independent inquiry. He urged the General Medical Council to mount an investigation "as a matter of urgency".
No tilt there then. It's just a pity John Reid doesn't feel the same need for an inquiry into the wider issue of MMR itself. Then again, is there a better metaphor for the whole debate than John Reid trying to pass off a witch hunt as an inquiry ? The whole debate has suffered from the self-evident contradiction in members of the scientific establishment issuing forth vacuous puff pieces about their role as disintrested seekers after truth while not denying themselves the use of any loathsome and underhand political trick. These latest non-revelations are just the latest example. We certainly should trust science, it's just the scientists that bear watching. You'd get more honesty out of an MP - at least they have some residual understanding of their role as public servants.
Well, possibly. Here are the opening lines from the BBC report on the latest bus bombing:
A Palestinian suicide bomber has killed eight people and injured dozens in an attack on an Israeli bus in Jerusalem.
The explosion ripped through the crowded vehicle at the height of the city's morning rush hour.
It came a short time after Israel began dismantling a small section of its controversial "security" barrier in the West Bank.
Like, hello ? They dismantle the barrier and get bombed. Just maybe the Jihadis aren't really being driven to anything, maybe they just don't plain don't like infidels. Maybe some folks will get a clue ? No, probably not - the next line is this:
On Monday, hearings begin at the International Court of Justice in The Hague into the legality of the barrier.
One side bombs, one side pours concrete, and the ICJ is after the folks with the shovels. Could there be a better summation of why the ICJ is a total disgrace ?
Apart from any other considerations, my main problem with reforming the exam system is that it doesn't address the basic problem with Big Education - it's knee-deep in moonbats. Even for a natural pessimist like moi Natalie Solent's post on what's happened to physics teaching in schools was depressing. Plus, I think she's right about the class bias inherent in this kind of touchy-feely garbage as well: the larvae of the chattering classes can max out on the babbling sections while Joe Sixpack from the Winston Silcott Council Estate is SOL if he has to break off from actual physics to deal with this kind of faux-dinner party questionerring. Draw your own conclusions from the fact that this kind of blatant pandering to the strengths of the spoilt brat demographic is occuring under a government of the soi dissant people's party.
Friday, February 20, 2004
Given that these people screeched like stuck pigs over Gitmo, you'd think a government indulging in 'racially based sterilization, terrorism and genocide ' would, y'know, rate at least a raised eyebrow from our ever-compassionate betters on the Left.
At least you would, if you didn't know that the Left reserves the term 'genocide' to refer to a country building a barrier to keep out homicidal fanatics. Merely trying to eliminate a troublesome ethnic group doesn't qualify. Of course, the fact that this is occurring in Viet Nam may suggest a reason why the L3 would rather we didn't mention it. It is kind of rude to ruin their basking in the glory of the Grovsenor Square demo by pointing out they were rioting in support of a Marxist dictatorship.
Worst of all, John Kerry, a man who can't go two minutes without mentioning his service in Nam, is the very Senator blocking US countermeasures. His Majesty gives the French-looking guy a well-deserved reaming.
Check out this heartwarming tale from way out east:
A 45-year-old man who subjected a woman to a three-hour rape ordeal has been given two life sentences....
The jury heard Milgate, who had two rape convictions, told police "I should not have been let out on the streets".
Thing is, he's got a point. Yet again our L3 dominated legal system has utterly failed to protect the public. Would it be too much to hope that just one of them may take a moment to reflect on what they've done in this case ?
In sentencing, Judge Philip Curl told him: "You treated her truly horribly. She has been deeply traumatised.
"She is being realistic when she says in her police statement, 'This will affect me for the rest of my life'.
Well, yes, it probably is - the self-same people who'll run riot to protest emission of green house gases are AWOL when it comes to the courts emitting scum. Implememnting Kyoto would wreck the economy, but what exactly do we get out of allowing the L3 to pump known perverts into our environment ? Maybe if it was the Ford Motor Company dumping degenerate predators in our towns the Liberals would give a toss then ? Just a thought!
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Talking of Big Education, there's a great article here speculating on why US institutes of higher learning have less diversity of opinion than a Democrat Party Convention. It's all great but try this:
Repeatedly falsified apocalyptic predictions have made many a fundamentalist preacher into a laughingstock; they made Stanford University eco-alarmist Paul Ehrlich into a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant winner. The eggheads who gave us the Great Society inadvertently created an entire underclass: millions of children have grown up without fathers in the decades since, but the eggheads kept their tenure. The average person would get fired or put in prison for such incompetence; the intellectual is merely advised to add a new Afterward to the next edition of his book.
Mel P hits the name on the head, as only she can. This garbage is just more of the same. Still, as schools retreat from teaching trivia such as literacy and numeracy, they're freeing up time to deal with the real dangers:
A four-year-old girl was barred from eating a packet of chocolate buttons at her Cheshire primary school.
Zara Owen was stopped from eating her lunch box treat by a teacher at Dee Point Primary School, in Chester.
The school said sweets had been banned under its healthy eating policy because children were bringing in too many
Funnily enough, it was only last week that the British Dieticians Association came out in favour of using phonics to teach reading.
No, that was sarcasm, but what is it with these people ? Can you imagine the reaction if OFSTED claimed the right to search their private property ? Instinct tells me that a search of the average teacher's belongings would be likely to turn up substances far more harmful to health than chocolate. But, no, these people are special. Don't none of you taxpayers dare question them. And so they carry on, goosestepping over the ordinary, decent members of the public until such time as someone finally snaps and arranges one to one tuition on Property Rights 101 with Mr Cluebat. At which point these fascist freaks then cast themselves as Jesus on the cross, another perfectly innocent victim of the tide of violence sweeping our nation's classrooms. Scum.
Still, there is an upside to this. Nothing is quite as likely to help along a child's intellectual development as the sight of some smelly, semi-literate freak launching into a spittle-flecked tirade directed at a 4 year-old child over a pack of chocolate buttons. It isn't just a metaphor, that is socialism in action: nasty, brutal and ultimatly utterly cowardly.
Sir John Stevens, Metropolitan Police Commissioner and political errand boy, has been giving us the benefit of Blunkett's professional expertise:
"In a defensive climate staff and officers are too often afraid to admit mistakes, apologise and move on for fear that by owning up to shortcomings they may themselves become the subject of allegations, especially allegations of discrimination, leading to misconduct proceedings."
"There is a particular nervousness about dealing with issues raised by or about black and minority ethnic staff and officers."
No doubt officers in the Met are reassured by this robust display of spinelessness from their boss. I mean, it could just be that they were in the right in the first place and refuse to grovel to race-hustling dead beats, treasure hunting lawyer trash and cop hating psychos. We're not talking X-Files weird here. It could theoretically happen that a complaint is bogus. Just once or twice.
And what's with Slimey complaining about excessive paranoia anyway ? Check this out from the self-same effusion:
"It is also patently wrong that we are currently unable to use evidence we may gather using covert techniques in disciplinary proceedings and I hope the law will be changed to allow this to happen in the future."
Yes, folks - he is talking about bugging. Wonder how many of the L3 who get attacks of the vapours when they think about setting MI-5 loose on Al-Q are A-OK with the Filth bugging Officer Hansen's flat in case he tells the one about Nellie Mandela and the lady of the night ? So PC Plod may have electronic plumbing in his house, but Slimey can't see why that might lead to obssessive defensiveness. Okay....
Of course, Blunkett's Orville can't be blamed for all of this - look where he made this statement:
The inquiry, headed by former union leader Sir Bill Morris, was set up after criticism over a number of cases involving ethnic minority officers.
It was established by the Metropolitan Police Authority in the wake of cases including that of Superintendent Ali Dizaei, who was cleared of allegations of dishonesty at the Old Bailey last September
So, the enquiry is headed by a guy so lefty he thinks Labour is too right-wing. No chance of bias there then.
Besides, it ain't just the Met that's drank the Kool Aid:
Police officers in County Durham will be equipped with cameras as part of the drive to tackle domestic violence.
The cameras will be put into all 100 of Durham Police's cars and vans and have been bought with £20,000 of Home Office funding.
It will mean the first officers who arrive at a scene will photograph any available evidence such as personal injury or damage to a premises.
Perish the thought that the Bill use public money to fight violence in general. Nope, they're only intrested if there's an excuse for the Milli Tants to indulge in a Man-Hating frenzy.
I've said before that the BBC invites people in from outside the bubble for the same reason why magicians invite a member of the audience down onto the stage - it's to provide plausibility while they go through the motions of a pre-planned performance.
But what happens if the patsy rebels ? Answer: he gets thrown off the program half-way through.
Your licence fee in action.
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Teaching Atheism in schools ? That won't take long. But, no, as ever there's more to it than that:
Children with strong religious beliefs would be encouraged to question them and to ask what grounds there are for holding them.
Do you get that ? Can you imagine the reaction if it was suggested that atheists should question their beliefs ? And it gets better:
"Pupils would be actively encouraged to question the religious beliefs they bring with them into the classroom, not so they are better able to defend or rationalise them, but so they are genuinely free to adopt whatever position on religious matters they judge to be best supported by the evidence."
Apparently, these guys have kind of missed the point of that 'faith' thing. Never mind that - again - atheists are apparently above the need for such introspection, why don't they examine the evidence in favour of Marxism ? Perhaps they should be actively encouraged to question their fanatical belief in a system that has utterly failed everywhere it's been tried.
Some of the report's conclusions will provoke controversy. Instead of accepting the 10 Commandments, children should be taught to question the plausibility of events and teachings in the bible, it says.
I don't think people who claim the basket case agriculture of the USSR was down to seventy years of bad weather should really be raising the question of plausibility.
Actually, these people don't exactly refute the argument that Marxism is a form of brain rot:
Rather than referring to God, they should be taught that there is a "divine being whose moral judgments are significantly more reliable than ours".
'Significantly more reliable' ?
Actually, there is a Freudian slip in there:
Children should also be taught about cults such as the Baha'i, made famous by the government scientist Dr David Kelly, paganism and even environmentalism.
Hence, the fanaticism about Kyoto - it's the economic equivalent of a sacrifice to the Earth Goddess.
Still, they're not against all religion. One does get respect from them. Can you guess which ?
A heavy emphasis would also be given to educating children about Islam to guard against what the think-tank regards as a growing phobia in schools towards Muslims.
Yes, the growing phobia, as evidenced by happenings such as….. errr, we'll get back to you on that. Instinct tells me that they won't be challenging anyone to rationalise the whole seventy-two virigns thing. They'll be after the real danger - those militant Amish get everywhere.
Mel P is also not amused.
Monday, February 16, 2004
Note: this post is a follow up to this one, and so, then as now, I'll say that if you think the BBC is the voice of truth or talk of the housing market makes you think longinly of death, you may want to skip it.
I talked below about the BBC's Gilliganesque expose on the mortgage market. Well, wouldcha'believe it, but it turns out we didn't get the whole story.
I mentioned that the BBC's chief witness was a self-confessed fraud, and that I though it was unethical that a representative from the Portman Building Society (the only lender representative that the BBC could dig up to support its loony theory) was able to babble about their conservative lending policy without anyone mentioning their not so conservative subsidiary, The Mortgage Works. Well, you'll never guess, but the frauds which Chief Witness guy was being investigated for involved mortgages put through Sun Bank, which has recently changed its name to.... errr, The Mortgage Works.
So, did the BBC cut a deal with the Portman to suppress evidence of specific wrongdoing if they'd agree to deliver a mea culpa on behalf of the whole industry ? Perish the thought! But there can be no doubt that the licence paying public was not given the full story, being deprived of facts which would surely have affected the credibility of the Portman representative in the eyes of any reasonable person. Something to bear in mind when you next hear the BBC trash babbling about journalistic standards.
So Ollie Outofit has made his big speech. The Conservatives will cut back, but not so anyone will notice. Tough sale, methinks. Vincent Cable, the Silly Party's Treasury Spokesman thinks so:
For the Lib Dems, Vincent Cable said: "It's all very well for the Conservatives to make these pie-in-the-sky pledges.
"The real question is where will they get the money to pay for their spending commitments?"
Mr Kettle, I have a Mr Pot on line 3. Still, while you're waiting Vinnie, try here and here, and tell me there's no fat out there.
Thursday, February 12, 2004
So, we're going to die of obesity, unless Nanny can save us:
Their 50-page report - Storing Up Problems: The medical case for a slimmer nation - makes a raft of recommendations to the Government, the food industry, local authorities, the NHS and individuals to tackle the obesity epidemic.
And what's more, it turns out that rotten rebel Atkins, who claimed current anti-obesity programs were all bunk, turns out to have been a charlatan:
NEW YORK - Dr. Robert Atkins, whose popular diet stresses protein-rich meat and cheese over carbohydrates, weighed 258 pounds at his death and had a history of heart disease, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
Atkins died last April at age 72 after being injured in a fall on an icy street.
Before his death, he had suffered a heart attack, congestive heart failure and hypertension, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a report by the city medical examiner.
At 258 pounds, the 6-foot-tall Atkins would have qualified as obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's body-mass index calculator.
Except, would you believe it, it turns out there may be a little spinning going on:
WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 -- The late Dr. Robert Atkins is being
smeared for his alleged obesity at the time of his death, by a phony doctors
organization that has been exposed as a front group for People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals (PETA) and has been censured by the American Medical
Association (AMA). The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)
has taken in over $1 million from PETA and the animal rights movement. PCRM
and PETA also share office space, board members, and staff.
Dr. Stuart Trager MD, chairman of the Atkins Physicians Council, told
the Wall Street Journal that Atkins' heart disease stemmed from
cardiomyopathy, a condition that was thought to result from a viral
infection. Atkins' weight was due to bloating and water-retention
associated with his condition, and the time he spent in a coma after
his head injury.
Speaking personally, I don't expect anything from the animal rights freaks, but it's depressing to see, yet again, the scientific community prepared to jump into bed with almost anyone that'll help them push the party line. I mean, hello ? These are the people who spend half their time trying to firebomb your labs, they trash a 'maverick' and suddenly you're swapping spit ?
As I say, I don't expect anything from the animal rights nuts, but there's something deeply wrong with people who think they can pose as the inheritors of the tradition of Einstein and Gailleo while indulging in this kind of blatant politicking .
Note: I forget who said everything in the papers was true except for the stuff you know about, but in that spirit I've taken it upon myself to dissect one of the BBC's latest effusions. If you think the BBC is God's own company or the ins and outs of financial services make you want to carve your eyes out, you may want to skip to a post where I resume my normal program of drunken ranting.
The BBC is justifiably notorious for tilting left on political issues, but just as annoying is its soft Liberalism - the blind acceptance of Liberal cultural prejudices as unchallengeable truths, together with its prissy, metropolitan myopia, eternally unable to see that what's sauce for the BBC employee goose may not be sauce for somebody else's gander. Both traits were on full view during tonight's edition of The Money Program.
You might think we hardly need Moulder & Scully to explain house price inflation, what with changing patterns of family life, mass immigration, the blighting of large sections of our cities by crime and, above all, the fact that we simply aren't building enough houses. Take this excerpt from a National House Builders Councilsponsored report:
Since the end of the Second World War, new housing construction has fallen in Britain. In the private sector, in the sixties, new housing starts averaged more than 200,000 units per annum; in the seventies and eighties, starts averaged around 160,000; in the nineties the average fell to approximately 145,000 units (although it is true that construction has been closer to the seventies and eighties average in the last four years). Even taking account of the fact that the type of dwellings constructed over the period has changed considerably, the figures are striking. Whereas most output variables in the economy, such as GDP, tend to rise over time, this has not been the case with housing starts.
But, no, Auntie knows who's really to blame for people being priced out of the market: it's all a huge conspiracy, see. The lenders and the intermediaries are conspiring to inflate house prices by giving people bigger loans than they should. Needless to say, the program started with the Beeb trying to play on our heartstrings with the case of an ordinary, everyday family - the very people the BBC usually sneers at - who've been priced out of the market. The program itself was supposedly a follow-up from one last year - fortunately, it didn't matter if you'd missed that one since the program spent an inordinate amount of its thirty minute run replaying footage from the previous edition.
If you were starting to suspect the Beeb had failed to stock up sufficiently at 'EvidenceMart', you weren't going to be dissuaded by the BBC rolling out its first new witness, a Independent Financial Advisor who freely confessed that fraud was rampant in the industry and everyone was dirty. So why did he feel this sudden urge to confess all ? Well… actually, he'd been busted by the regulators and his sole defence was that 'all the other kids were doing it, miss'. Pathetic, but not nearly as much as the BBC trying to indict a whole industry on the evidence of a self-confessed fraud.
The supposed mechanism for this dastardly deed was 'self-certification' mortgages - mortgages where the lender does not require proof of income from the borrower. The BBC was anxious to convince us that bar maids were putting down their income as £100 000 pa and thereby scoring massive loans, which in turn distorted the market. After all, who except a fraudster would have trouble proving their income ?
Lots of people, actually - just not the people BBCoids usually deal with. Teachers who provide private tuition on the side, shop assistants who do casual bar work at night, computer geeks who run a computer-building business part-time and (most of all) the self-employed. In short, just about anyone who has income sources other than a plain vanilla 9-5 job. What annoys most about the BBC is not that they did not ONCE mention during the whole program that there are perfectly good reasons for someone to want to self-cert, but the near-certainty that this collection of Metropolitan snobs really don't think that folks like these shouldn't be allowed to buy houses anyway: leave house buying to people with real jobs, like being a drone in the bowels of a large state-funded broadcaster.
Perhaps sensing that Fraud Boy was not an ideal witness, the BBC then moved onto other lines of evidence. Documents produced by lenders were shown, never actually read or summarised, just single words and phrases ominously highlighted without even a hint of context. A writer from what was described as the 'lender's top trade magazine' was wheeled on to claim it's all a vast conspiracy. Leaving aside the question of whether Mortgage Analyst would have been the 'lender's top trade magazine' if he hadn't drunk hefty gulps of Kool Aid, Mr Context was - again - not in the building. What do other writers on MA think ? What do the staff at Mortgage Strategy, Mortgage Solution or Mortgage Introducer - to name but three - think about it ? And how did one journalist interviewing another journalist get to be investigative journalism anyway ?
The program thrashed about desperately trying to cast the industry as shady. The fact that the industry is self-regulating was held up as, in and off itself, proof that it was out of control except… a few minutes later the narrator admitted that, yes, indeed, come Halloween (appropriately) the industry will fall under the jurisdiction of the communist vampires at the Financial Services Authority. At the time of the original program, the Council of Mortgage Lender's had estimated self-certs as only 1% of the market. The presenter was the very model of righteous indignation as he confronted the CML's chief with the news that the latest FSA figures show that, actually, 6% of mortgages are concluded on a self-cert basis. The fact that, at that time, the BBC was claiming that lax regulation in this 6% was enough to turn the whole market to soup went unremarked.
Nevertheless, in the intervening period even the Beeb must have had qualms about claiming that a fraud affecting a sector that accounts for less than one in sixteen mortgages could distort the whole market. Suddenly, two-thirds of the way through the focus shifted and self-certs were joined on the enemies list by 'fast-track' applications. In a fast-track application, in order to speed things up, the lender may not require proof of income but (crucially) retains the right to ask for that evidence. Needless to say, when the only other intermediary to be featured claimed that approximately '15 to 30%' of his company's applications were fast-tracked, this was immediately described as 'up to 30%' and ever after as 30%. Equally predictably, this was taken, on no apparent evidence at all, as being representative of the industry as a whole.
Yet, again, a little thought suggests there are perfectly benign reasons why fast-track doesn't equal fraud. If a teacher claims an income of 20K or a Detective Sergeant claims 25K, then there really is no need to check. Equally, the fact that fast-tracks require a deposit of at least 25% would tend to move it outside the sphere of first-time buyers anyway.
And that's really the thing: throughout the program the BBC discussed mortgages as though all lending was in the context of house buying. Ahem - most lending is in the context of remortgages, where the householder simply changes lenders to get a better rate, raise capital or whatever. Naturally, this is where 'fast-tracks' really come into their own, in the relatively straightforward case of a straight swap from one product to another. The BBC can use all the spooky music it wants, but remortgaging doesn't have the slightest effect on house prices.
The only lender's representative to appear on camera was from the Portman Building Society. He appeared anxious to point out the dangers of fast-tracking applications without asking for proof of income. No doubt, he'd have pointed out the dangers of self-certs - if the Portman offered them, but fortunately, the Portman leaves this market to less reputable operators such as The Mortgage Works. Perhaps the Portman would like to raise the question of TMW's dubious lending practices with its parent company ?
What really sticks in the throat about all this though is the unstated assumptions underlying it all. Of course, there is more potential for fraud where self-certs are concerned - which is why companies like TMW charge more than companies like the Portman for similar products. But companies are happy to assume the risks, people need these products and even the FSA hasn't ordered anyone to be shot yet. In short, the market works. Yet here comes the BBC with a full load of 60s cliches: Big Business is fixing the markets, The Man is seducing defenceless peasants into taking on too much debt, left to their own devices ordinary people are lying scum, Big Government should immediately fly in and regulate the Hell out of everything, we're all going to die.
Yes, some people have taken on too much, and they’ll suffer if rates keep climbing. But, the alternative is to shut a large section of the public out of the housing market permanently while imposing extra costs and delays on those who still can get mortgages.
Still, even that misses the true irony of the whole exercise. Here's the BBC in high dudgeon: lender's don't always require people to provide documentary evidence that they're telling the truth which means everyone is suspect. It's something of a change of attitude to how they deal with their own staff. What if Andrew Gilligan wanted a mortgage ?
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Maybe you've been wondering why OFSTED can report that everything's ducky in most of the nation's schools even when anecdotal evidence indicates they're accerlerating downhill ? Wonder no more:
A radical overhaul of the school inspection system, making it harder for teachers to disguise their failings, was announced yesterday by David Bell, the head of Ofsted.
Instead of being given two months' notice of an inspection - time usually spent on extensive cosmetic preparation and writing meaningless documents, Mr Bell said - schools will now be told on a Friday to expect the inspectors on the Monday.
Two months notice ? That's enough time to bury any number of bodies. So, this sounds like a Good but, as ever, that's not quite the whole story.
To make the process less intrusive and burdensome for schools and teachers, the size of the inspection teams will be slashed - saving £10 million a year on Ofsted's budget of £70 million - and the inspectors will stay for one or two days instead of a week.
Instead of inspecting everything from the state of the lavatories to the religious content of assemblies, they will "focus on what really matters" - the effectiveness of the school's management and the quality of the teaching.
So anything less than unburied bodies stinking up the class room and Beardy-Weirdey is home free. But who cares anyway ?
The interval between inspections will be halved from six years to three, enabling Ofsted to monitor schools more closely and giving parents more up-to-date information about the quality of their children's education.
"Inspection will be more rigorous and the inspectors' reports will be briefer and easier to read," Mr Bell said. "This is Ofsted consolidating its role as the parents' champion."
Well, yeah, but without REAL school choice it hardly matters. Everyone knows which are the dive schools just as surely as everyone knows the good ones. But, as long as education is effectively run as a cartel it hardly matters. Without the discipline of the market we're stuck with people who say things like this:
The National Association of Head Teachers said it was concerned about the demand for "higher and higher standards" and the poor quality of many inspection teams.
Everyone knows continuous improvement is impossible, that's why the Ford Mondeo looks so much like the Cortina did back in the day. That's even before considering the irony in the self-same people demanding 'higher and higher standards' at OFSTED. Apparently, OFSTED aren't part of Big Education's happy-clappy commune.
Tuesday, February 10, 2004
Domestic policy may be a little erratic, but George W Bush has grasped the essentials of what America should be in a way that suggests he is a worthy successor to Ronald Reagan. Read this and see not only why Howard's attempt to take on Blair at his own game is doomed, but why he doesn't even need to try.
How zombiefied is the average member of the Conservative Party ? I mean, they elect a leader, he gets deposed in a coup and the new guy starts pushing through the very policies that the members implicitly rejected when they elected IDS.
We're not talking little stuff here. The Party's line on the EU is such a federalist monstrosity that even its own MEPs are rebelling. The War on Terror ? Howard's opportunism over Iraq has moved beyond the merely squalid to the positively dangerous. To paraphrase Mark Steyn: by demanding an impossible standard of evidence before action is taken, Howard is inhibiting the ability of future governments - including his own, of course - to wage war effectively against an enemy that rarely announces its intentions via an advert in the Times. As for social policy, Mel P sums it up perfectly.
So Howard has successively abandoned Euroscepticism, national defence and the family. Given all that, what exactly is left ? As far as anything recognisably Conservative goes, Howard seems to envisage the Tories as a kind of low tax pressure group. As for the rest of the policies Howard may as well fire the policy staff and let You Gov write the manifesto.
What's that squeak I hear ? 'Electability' ? No doubt Conservative MPs are prepared throw all manner of babies away with the bath water . At the end of the day, they're career politicians and as such will drink the full 26 flavours of Kool Aid if it means they can cop a swanky office in Whitehall. But Conservative activists ? What do they get out of it ? Why should they pound pavements and stump up cash merely to provide a collection of sleazy wooden men with top jobs ? Well, traditionally, the idea was to promote an ideology you believe in, but given that the Parliamentary Conservative Party has abandoned ideology isn't it time the rest of the party abandoned them ?
Can any Conservative really say that a Howard government would be better than a Blair government ? There's little to choose between them politically speaking. You wouldn't leave your kids with either of them. In fact, there's only one real policy difference between the two of them and that clearly shows Blair in a better light. Even while being quite possibly definitive proof of the stopped clock hypothesis, Blair showed real courage and vision in his Iraq policy. Howard on the other hand has managed to diminish himself every time he speaks. We are living through days that will define the world for centuries to come, and the leader of Her Majesty's Opposition is scrabbling around in the gutter trying to catch the PM with odd socks on.
So, I return to my original point: what kind of drones are Conservative activists ? If Howard finished up his next conference speech by mooning at them, would they get a clue then ? Conservative Party members: it's time to face facts - you are hated by your MPs. This bunch of snivelling, two dimensional, amoral scumbags regard Conservatism as a brand or image. Market share is an end in itself. Hence the hatred for activists: by bringing actual ideals into the equation, they interfere with the effective marketing of the Conservative Party PLC. Activists: if you genuinely want to promote Conservatism then you're wasting your time with the Conservative Party. Let the two-faced, conniving twerps deliver their own leaflets.
Sometimes Liberals commit Hari-Kiri merely by opening their mouths:
The Three Wise Men who brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the infant Jesus may not have been particularly wise and could have been women, the Church of England has ruled.
A committee revising new short prayers, or "collects", for the Church's latest prayer book, Common Worship, said the term "magi" was a transliteration of the name of officials at the Persian court and the possibility that they were female could not be dismissed.
Apparently, there's no role for wise men in today's Anglican Church.
Sunday, February 08, 2004
I get slagged! Excellent - it's about time. Anyway, stop me if you've heard this one before, but the Liberals are claiming they're not really Liberal. What did I say below about Liberals lacking confidence in the force of their arguments ? I got accused of reading too much Coulter - as if such a thing were possible - which is ironic since Coulter answered this very point perfectly when she pointed out there's more variation amongst dogs than Liberals, but Liberals don't insist on a half-hour discussion on the difference between poodles and Labradors before agreeing that actually 'dog' is a pretty useful generic term for the things that bark.
What's that ? Liberal once meant something different ? OK, I'll concede that providing the not-Liberals agree to only call Elton John gay when he's really happy. Otherwise can they just accept that language changes over time ?
Point two is even weirder: there are people on the Left who aren't Liberals. Like, really ? That's an excuse for Michael Meacher is it? The fact you can oppose Conservatism without being completely insane ? Principled leftists like Ann Clywd or Frank Field emphasise, rather than detract from, the nuttiness of modern Liberalism.
So what is it with modern Liberalism that none of it's proponents will actually admit to being Liberals ? Put it this way: think of a flagship Liberal policy, now think of a successful flagship Liberal policy. My critic claims that Liberalism tend to believe in the importance of education as a means of empowering people. They might believe that, but it doesn't change the fact that we've had thirty years of Liberals running rampant in the education system and it's a complete train wreck. They steered it onto the iceberg, no one else did, and we should remind people of that fact at every opportunity.
There is such a thing as Liberalism. It may be hard to pin down the exact details of the philosophy but that's mainly because it doesn't make sense anyway: try this one from the critic - '[Liberal's] desire to allow people to live their lives without interference from the state, other organisations and other people'. Surely if you want to protect the citizen from interference from other organisations and people you 're going to need a honking great state to do the protecting ? Besides, it's never that simple. The critic criticises Texans who refused to work on building an abortion clinic - yet what is the critic's answer ? Forced labour ? Who knows ? As ever with Liberals, there's plenty of outrage but no answers. The desire to have their cake and eat it is one of the defining features of modern Liberalism - and no group of people exemplify this more than the Lib Dems.
I've said this before, and no doubt I'll say it again, the Lib Dems aren't a political party in the sense of advancing actual policies. Voting Lib Dem is the political equivalent of getting a tongue stud. Their whole raison d'être is to bug the squares, shout rude words and moon at the grown-ups. Check out the excellent new blog, Liberal Democrat Watch, for more proof of that.
Nevertheless, there is a definable spine of ideological thought which can be summed up as Liberal. I was joking when I wrote this, but there is an underlying truth to it. If you believe that big business is more dangerous than big government, crystals cure cancer and mobile phones cause it, a householder killing a burglar is more serious than the other way round and George W Bush is worse than Bin Laden, you're a Liberal and that's that.
The worst thing about the influence of Liberalism on the legal system has been the politicisation of the law. Instead of upholding the law as passed by Parliament, every decision is now carefully weighed against political considerations. Is it any wonder respect for the law is going downhill when the law merely serves to provide an excuse to push the political idea d'jour ? So now we have the situation where police openly discriminate in favour of some victims and against others. Which leads to situations like this:
Huntingdon Life Sciences is preparing private prosecutions against militant animal rights protesters because it is not getting enough protection from the law.
Andrew Baker, the head of Europe's largest contract testing laboratory, wrote to Ken Macdonald, the Director of Public Prosecutions, last week complaining at the lack of action against violent demonstrators who are harming his business by driving away suppliers and customers.
It is understood that the letter complains about the "abject failure" of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to investigate crimes properly and to bring successful prosecutions against repeat offenders.
The Free Democrat has an interesting link from the US:
A few years ago, Jeff O'Holleran said he began to realize that he was different from the other boys he knew.
"I started having certain thoughts," said Mr. O'Holleran, 19, a student at the University of Colorado (CU). ..
Yesterday, he said, it was time to come out of the closet. In the middle of a crowded university dining area, he took to the podium and announced, "I'm Jeff, and I'm a conservative."
Of course, there's serious purpose to all this. It's a protest against academic bias. After all, there's a certain disconnect between Liberal rhetoric about diversity and their treatment of those with diverse views. I remember how over at this place some guy in the comments started boasting about how a class he was teaching had degenerated into a anti-Conservative hatefest. Think that one over: a guy at a site called 'Conservative Commentary' is quite happy to boast about how he allows schoolkids in his class to take time out to screech abuse about Tories. To him, that was normal. Somehow, I think he wouldn't have been too impressed if a colleague had allowed his class to openly express hatred of gays.
Yet, with all that, I'm wary about this sort of thing. No two ways about it, we should oppose bias wherever it exists but there are so many ways for students to be victimised that this sort of thing runs the risk of being a kind of political Charge of the Light Brigade. Martyrdom ain't our thing. More to the point though, it runs the risk of being counter-productive.
The problem is, as Jonah Goldberg put it, we don't want to encourage the 'Gorillas in the Mist' approach to Conservatism, the belief that Conservatives are some weird, exotic species. Unlike gay activists, we don't merely want to assert our identity or draw a reaction, we want to convince people. We don't want to be a minority group, we want to be a majority group. Equally, if we develop the attributes of a minority group then that automatically sets us apart from people.
We've got a mountain to climb though. For example, it says a lot about the reality of Liberal bias in the media and the Academy that people really believe that Nazis are right-wing. Hello ? National Socialists, anyone ? As Paul sums up perfectly, most of the BNP manifesto is indistinguishable from the Lib Dems. Indeed, the main point of contention appears to be that Nazis want to kill Jews, while the Lib Dems prefer to subcontract to the Islamofascists. Yet, still large numbers of people believe that wanting to privatise the BBC is the same as thinking Hitler was a pinko who wimped out. Say what else you like about it, but this is prejudice.
As with all prejudice the way to defeat it is to slap it in the face with reality. Maybe these ceremonies would help ? Would the mindless hatred of Conservatives on campus abate if Joe Kewl stood up and admitted he occasionally indulged in full-on Conservatism ? Possibly, or it could just confirm the Lefty libel that Conservatives are weird and alien.
Let's be clear about this: a lecturer, let alone a schoolteacher, who expresses hostile views on Conservatives (or permits others to) should be judged exactly the same as one who expresses the same views about gays. We don't need another PC victim group but it's entirely fair to question whether Conservative students can be fairly assessed by someone who believes they are Nazis. But, outside of that kind of official bigotry, we should recognise that this demonisation is a sign of weakness not strength. Here's modern Liberalism, it claims to the way of the future, but it's best argument is that Conservatives are Nazis. Really - it shows a certain lack of confidence in the force of their arguments.
The best way to defeat this prejudice is simply by day-to-day interactions. Live your life, don't hide your true beliefs but don't ram them down people's throats either. Sooner or later people will question why you don't have two heads or a swastika flag on your wall, like they were always told you'd have, and once they turn off the Kool Aid supply, then they're ready to listen, their minds are open, and with care and attention, you can seduce them to the Dark Side.
Sometimes it must be hard to be a Liberal. You try all you can to help out the world's unfortunates in their battle against poverty, disease and infidels, then they go do this to you:
An Afghan boy whose 14-month detention by US authorities as a terrorist suspect in Cuba prompted an outcry from human rights campaigners said yesterday that he enjoyed his time in the camp.
Mohammed Ismail Agha, 15, who until last week was held at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, said that he was treated very well and particularly enjoyed learning to speak English. His words will disappoint critics of the US policy of detaining "illegal combatants" in south-east Cuba indefinitely and without trial.
Disappoint ? Cherie's on suicide watch.
So, right, the latest moral panic is about replica guns and air weapons. The chattering classes are trying to convince us that they can easily be converted into working firearms (not that these people ever seem to actually attempt to do this themselves - not that easy apparently). 'Ban 'Em All' saith the guardians of public morals, after all, all the people who can now convert an air rifle to fire actual bullets will throw their hand in without a ready supply of gun-shaped things to start with. Right ? I mean, that's got to be true, hasn't it ?
If there's one cliché which has been flogged to death these last couple of years, then it's that one. Don't get me wrong, Blunkett bears watching at the best of times and the latest proposals are an atrocity. But, seeing as how Blunkett has not proposed mass conversion to Islam and a return to the fourteenth century, it's hard to see much for Al-Q to celebrate.
What it's all about, of course, is an attempt to shut down the debate rather than risk people realising that many of Blunkett's critics don't have any actual alternatives. The Left has either lapsed into full-on denial or actively lined up with the enemy, while the Libertarians generally support waging the war vigorously but differently, in some as yet undefined way. Horrible though Blunkett's measures are, at least he has recognised that things can't go on.
Still, the central problem remains. Trying to wage war within the confines of criminal law makes about as much sense as insisting that the Fire Brigade obtain search warrants before entering burning buildings. This isn't a theoretical objection: it was 1993 when Al-Q made their first attack on the WTC. Between 1993 and 2001 the US treated Al-Q as a law enforcement problem - even refusing a Sudanese offer to extradite Bin Laden since the US lacked enough evidence to charge him with anything. It's fair to say that the 'terrorists as criminals' approach got a fair old working out, with Sep 11 marking the failure of that experiment. Yet, still British policy remains stubbornly legalcentric.
The problem with the current British approach is perfectly summed up by the Gitmo farce. Here we have a number of British citizens captured on the battlefield while fighting for a terrorist organisation against our allies in time of war. You'd think that would justify a certain degree of jail time, but no, you see, there's no evidence: they might have been on holiday with Club Jihad, for example. Some of what the Islamofascists believe might strike us as strange, but insisting that no one can be classed as a traitor unless they've left a series of video diary entries speaking at length about how much they'll enjoy dropping anthrax over the FA Cup Final or the like - now that's really insane. Given that we're stuck with a legalistic approach to the war, it looks like our only option is the one Blunkett proposes: throwing out most of the basic assumptions of our legal system.
Against this background it is easy to see why the US has opted to rely on military tribunals. This measure avoids having to release scumbags because there are no eyewitness reports of the rat in question leaning over a map of central LA with a fistful of flags labelled 'bomb goes here'. Blunkett wants to go the other way: throwing out so many civil rights that every court may as well be military tribunal. This is the central paradox that the Left, mired in anti-Americanism, will not address. As Drake's Drum pointed out, military tribunals for illegal combatants serve to protect civil rights. By drawing a distinction between enemy combatants captured during operations and 'ordinary, decent criminals' the US has managed to resolve the tension between civil rights and national defence. When dealing with purely criminal incidents, there is no reason why the normal processes of law enforcement cannot take place. OTOH, within the very specialised situation of the battlefield (in the broadest sense), it is clearly ludicrous to expect combat soldiers to respect such legal niceties as 'chains of evidence' and the like.
Of course, if you've drank the full six-pack of Kool Aid, then you don't see the problem: there's no such thing as terrorism (except anything done by the West), everyone is innocent except for the Americans and Mossad blew up the WTC. For the rest though the central issue remains: our court system can't deal with Islamosfascism without significant changes. Blunkett has put before us his ideas, warped though they are, but the fact that so few others have been prepared to grasp the nettle exposes a deep flaw in our politics - their sheer lack of seriousness. We are faced with fanatics who want to impose an Islamic theocracy on the world and our political class are still throwing rotten tomatoes at each other.
We on the Right spend so long bemoaning the fact the BBC extorts money from us to tell us how awful we are that we often forget there are other scrounging nogoodniks out there copping slander subsidies. The incomparable Mel P put us right.
I actually heard this program, embarrassingly enough. There's a certain irony here. The Beeb was helping to push a campaign to muzzle the press, justified by nothing more than a series of eye-scratchy attacks of the 'you're insensitive' type from the Perennially Outraged. Wasn't this the self-same organisation that was assuring us last week that being able to broadcast slanderous material was the very cornerstone of our democracy ? Which is it ? Is slander the mark of a free press or is being rude enough to warrant Big Brother clamping down ? We may never know.
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
I usually try and stay away from lefty sites: if I need to hear what the Kool Aid drinkers are saying, I figure I should get some use out of the disgrace I'm forced to pay my TV licence to support. So I'm particularly grateful to Frank J for supplying The Universal Democratic Underground Thread.
So anyway, Anthony Seldon, headmaster of Brighton College, East Sussex, points out the basic hypocrisy of Leftoids who slam parents who go private while pulling an Alan B'stard with the state system to get their kids into top schools. I'll second that - after all, the Left's argument against private education relies on dippy arguments about 'the rich' using up all the good education so ordinary people have to study French military victories or something yet, as far as state schools go, every Liberal's kid that gets into a functioning school by subterfuge really does mean one more good kid on the scrapheap at Winston Silcott Comprehensive.
What's more, Tony follows this up by suggesting means tested tuition fees for schooling. The University fees boosters always make a big point of the supposed logic of their position, so it raises an interesting question. I didn't agree with them at Uni level, I don't agree with them here either, but for those who did agree with Uni fees: what's the diff ? Really ?
It's just a pity that Tony immediately jumps the shark. His justification for fees is this: 'parents who paid fees are more likely to take an active interest in their children's schooling'. There's the obvious objection that he confuses cause and effect: parents who scrimp and save to give their kids a good education are bound to be those who place a high value on education. But there's a deeper problem this idea exposes. Take this quote from Seldon:
Fee-paying parents demand a good service, and are closely involved in schools.
"Research shows that the more involved parents are, the better the performance of the school."
Teachers keep babbling on about how they're professionals, much like brain surgeons, only more talented. Yet every time the wheels come off it's because of the parents. Of course. Never mind that the head teacher of a comp pulls down £70 000 pa, the real problem is that police officers, nurses and entrepreneurs don't spend enough of their free time doing his job for him. So which teaching profession are we talking about anyway ? Is it the elite group of professionals or the group of hapless idiots who seemingly can't have lunch without parents cutting up their sandwiches for them ?
I could point out that parents already pay through the nose for Big Education via the tax system but, more than that, what is this about demanding good service ? The whole system is designed to insulate our hippy-dippy non-teaching profession from the people who pay their wages. How exactly can a parent 'demand a good service' ? Seemingly, to judge by the statistics on violence, it does no good for a parent to demand a safe environment for their kids let alone anything more ambitious.
This is where we came in. Seldon's customers can demand a good service because they can up stakes if they don't get it. Our Soviet style state system is designed to prevent anyone having that choice. Children are divided up amongst the cartel like slaves being split amongst the victors of some ancient battle. So parents try and fiddle the system to ensure the best for their kids ? How evil! They should be happy to play Russian Roulette with their kids education.
Parents are supposed to feel guilty about administering a sly tilt to a system which yearly condemns thousands of kids to a lifetime of underachievement (and usually five years of violence as well) ? Hello ? This isn't Vietnam or the Somme. Your country doesn't need your kids. Just let the bad schools sink already. There's no upside to our current system of commissars and cartels - unless you're some workshy, soap-dodging, drug-sodden, activist New-Age freak going through the motions until the Revolution comes. Take this quote from OFSTED's latest effusion:
Mr Bell said it was encouraging that fewer comprehensives had unsatisfactory behaviour - but the conduct of some pupils, especially boys, "remains a serious concern for many".
"Unwillingness to listen, to concentrate and to get on with their work continues to cause disturbance and to hinder learning," he reported.
To paraphrase the old line about the GDR, maybe the teachers should fire the pupils and hire some new ones. Boys make up half the population, schools aren't serving their needs and that proves the lads have a problem ? Arrogant, much ? Can anyone imaging Ford responding to a fall in sales to women by announcing that girls are stupid ?
Education is the Jurassic Park of modern Britain, where one can hear the authentic sound of 1970s nationalised industries. Our non-education system needs the same treatment British industry required back in the Eighties: none whatsoever. Enough with the bureaucracy and the blather and the avoidance mechanisms. Give the public real choice. Successful schools should be allowed to expand as big as they want. Failing schools should be killed with a shovel. That's it, that's all you need. Competition and the action of the market will do the rest.
Ludicrous though I think all this post-Hutton manoeuvring by the Hate-America crowd is, Blair can't say he hasn't brought much of it on himself. In the run-up to '97 Blair couldn't cross the road without talking about Tory sleaze, fat cat conspiracies and Big Business plotting to do down the little guy. Right up until about 2:30 AM on May 2 Blair was the best thing that ever happened to the British tinfoil industry. But, amusing though it is to see him get beaten with his own stick, there are serious consequences to descending further into X-Files territory. Mark Steyn sums… well, it's Mark Steyn - it's hardly going to not be good is it ?
If he wants, Mr Howard can have some sport with Mr Blair. But, if he aids the perception that Blair took Britain to war under false pretences, the Tories will do the country a grave disservice. One day Mr Howard might be prime minister and, chances are, in the murky world that lies ahead, he'll have to commit British forces on far less hard evidence than existed vis à vis Saddam. Conservatives shouldn't assist the Western world's self-loathing fringe in imposing a burden of proof that can never be met. The alternative to pre-emption is defeat. If you want a real "underlying issue", that's it.
Yargh, RIIIGHT. Everyone knows Conservatives only criticise paedophiles because they think they'll pick up votes amongst ignorant fools who are too stupid to understand the nuances of how Liberals crack down on dangerous predators.
A Wakefield, West Yorkshire, last Friday, was arrested in Weymouth at about 1330 GMT on Wednesday.
He was caught in the town centre after a member of the public alerted police.
After being taken to Weymouth police station, McDermott was transferred to Dorchester Prison, where West Yorkshire police will question him on Thursday.
McDermott was on parole, and was said by police to present a particular danger to children. dangerous paedophile who has been on the run for six days has been arrested in Dorset.
John McDermott, 45, who absconded from a hostel in
Earth calling Liberals, Earth calling Liberals… how exactly does a guy get parole when he's so dangerous his disappearance causes a nation-wide manhunt. I mean, here's Tony Martin denied parole because he's a danger to burglars but now we have a guy who's described as a 'particular danger to children' and the Left does all but give him directions to the nearest primary school.
How did we get here anyway ? How did we get to the point where the L3 spend half their lives whining about Sellafield, industrial waste and car exhausts releasing toxins into the environment but the Parole Board can release predators and it's a faux pas to ask WTF ? Would the left give a toss if he smoked near some kids ? Or does the Left's egotism and snobbery preclude any common cause with the great unwashed, even to the point of aiding and abetting those who kill kids for sexual kicks ? Whatever, but until some Liberal can explain this to me, I'll keep translating 'nuanced policy' as 'juvenile ego-trips threatening innocent lives '.
Here's a quick question for you: you're a member of a once great profession that served humanity well for centuries, yet your public image has been dragged through the mud as a result of a series of sleazy incidents in which members of your profession have behaved more like Mafiosi or members of a fanatical cult instead of committed public servants. Do you
A) Launch a huge PR campaign
B) Encourage members of your profession to forge links with the journalists by talking openly about what they do and how they do it
C) Call for the profession to adopt voluntary regulation, with codes of conduct, minimum standard, independent disciplinary panels and a requirement to document how you do business.
D) Call for the government to regulate the profession, in particular by setting up a national standards body with the right to carry out snap inspections, seize evidence and investigate misconduct
E) Call for your critics to be censored
This answers obvious, once you take a scientific approach.