Wednesday, December 31, 2003
Lgf reports that Chris Patton has given the thumbs down to Israel joining the EU. Never mind the question of in which parallel universe it would be in Israel's interests to join the EUSSR, check out fat boy's attempt to soften the blow:
We are trying to see if there are ways they [Israel] can share our policies and our markets without sharing our institutions,” he said
Interesting, hey ? Free trade without the eurocrats. Lgf thinks this is meant as a way of keeping the EUSSR Judenfrei. If so, may I be the first to remind the EU that Mikey H is Jewish - best give us the same deal when he's elected. It's the only way to guarantee safety.
Stephen Pound MP has the chance to introduce a bill to Parliament so he's put it to the vote on Radio 4. Free Democrat has the dirty details. I'd point out that the first four options are horrible, but that's inevitable. Pound isn't introducing these bills because he perceives a real need for them (otherwise why put it to the vote), he's doing it for the same reason the dog licks his own nads: because he can.
No doubt, Pound would claim it's all harmless fun, but it shows what's wrong with modern politics. Nothing has screwed up politics more than the idea that Parliament exists to pass laws. Not only have we been landed with a mountain of insane laws, but the public sector has been allowed to go bananas while the folks who are supposed to be keeping it honest are working on the Public Singing Act 2004. Similarly, we're suffering the effects of the capture of the political agenda by single issue fanatics and the corollary to that fanaticism - the belief that the ends justify the means, or at least that personal preferences demand legislation. Did we really kill a King to be free of Christmas light abuse ?
I wanted to say something about the loons attacking the deployment of sky marshals, but this guy has it covered. The only thing I'll add is this: we have a bunch of lunatics with a penchant for hijacking aeroplanes and flying them into buildings, but the gun grabbers don't want us to take counter-measures because they might be dangerous.
Newish blogger Paul points out the basic weirdness of the current public health approach to dealing with AIDS, namely the weasel words used to describe how it's transmitted. To quote the ever reliable Peter C, it's as if anyone who thought there might also be a behavioural factor in its spread must believe in the Stork.
What's makes the whole thing even weirder is that the self-same bodies positively relish wagging their finger at people whose lifestyles make them vulnerable to other illnesses. What proportion of adverts dealing with heart disease feature a fat bloke with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other ? So committed have the health nazis been to pushing the line that heart disease is caused by drinking, smoking, overwork and lack of exercise that few would realise that the biggest risk factor is…. genetics.
Not only do bad genes mean you might drop dead, but you also have the reassurance of knowing that if you do all and sundry will describe you as 'asking for it' based on the fact you once had more than two pints in the same night. Here is a real case of victims of disease being unfairly stigmatised, and it's the government that's doing it.
There's a darker side to all this though. Things being what they are, it's usually the lady of the house who does most of the cooking while it's man of the house who succumbs to heart disease. So not only do women face the loss of a loved one, they have the health weasels implying that if only they hadn't served him such garbage to eat, he'd still be alive. Cruel, dishonest and entirely cynical: the government wants to put the blame on the victims to hide it's own culpability. While suggesting restrictions on the use of AZT, protease inhibitors and the like for HIV+ patients is verbotten, the government is quite happy to restrict the deployment and use of clot-buster drugs, which can produce dramatic improvements in many cardiac arrest patients. Needless to say, the distribution of research effort is similarly skewed. Maybe there are good reasons for this, but if the health freaks can blather about marginal factors like overwork leading to disease, they sure can mention that AIDS can be spread by shagging.
Tom Watson e-mails to point out he was joking in his Christmas massacre post. Pre-lunch beatings are therefore cancelled.
Mind you, as with Jenny Tonge's cod liver oil moment, it's significant that even when MPs are being deliberately ridiculous, people don't notice anything out of the ordinary.
Sunday, December 28, 2003
We've had the premature euphoria then the sudden clash with reality, now we're onto stage 3 - the Beagle backlash is well under way.
Beagle II may have literally bit the dust, but when did our sense of perspective get run over by a planet ? It's hardly wallowing in failure to note a number of strategic gains delivered by Beagle II. Who even knew Britain had a space program ? Yet, a craft was assembled at a fraction of the cost, and in the fraction of the time, of previous craft. The craft may be history, but the skills that built it are still up and running. True, the mission was a failure. Historically, 90% of the previous missions to Mars have been as well. It would be interesting to know what William Langley thinks of those who sent off the earlier probes. Are Americans uncomfortable with the idea of success ? Do they find the prospect of failure irresistible ? Or do they accept the risks of failure, and resolve to learn the lessons and apply them in future ?
Politically, failure at this late stage may be a blessing in disguise. As much as the country has admired Prof Pillinger's team and their skill at assembling a probe out of the space equivalent of used washing-up bottles and double-sided sticky tape, success could have created the expectation that all missions could be run this way, with microbudgets and plans drafted on beer mats. NASA is notorious for never spending an unnecessary dollar where an unnecessary billion will do, but it can't all be flab. The British taxpayer now knows what can be accomplished, while being put on notice that it is a big job, after all [plus the yank hating lunatics for whom the probe was some kind of interplanetary V-sign to the US have been silenced].
Similarly, about that Prof Pillinger: for sure, he played the eccentric prof, doubtless drawing fire from his colleagues. But he get his probe to Mars, even if a little faster than planned. In short, the Prof met the public halfway, gave them what they wanted and got what he wanted. The hypothesis that the British public is blindly antagonistic to science is hereby blown out of the water.
For some people, the fact Britain can never have its own shuttle program means we should give the whole space thing up as a bad job. We can't do everything, but what we do, we can do well. After all, it ain't all a race. If anyone finds extraterrestrial life, it'll be a great day for science. Unless it's the French, in which case we'll be plunged into interplanetary war with any half-decent species.
Country store passes on the news that PC is KIA in Iraq, and life insurance for Jihadis is going to become a lot more expensive:
An American who has advised the civilian authority in Baghdad explained the new plan of attack to Hersh: "The only way we can win is to go unconventional. We're going to have to play their game. Guerrilla vs. guerrilla. Terrorism vs. terrorism. We've got to scare the Iraqis into submission."
What that means is no more Mr. Nice Guy. It means our first priority will not be to arm American troops with paint rollers each morning, to get everything looking more spiffy in Baghdad. Instead, we're talking about what some in the Pentagon call "pre-emptive manhunting" -- more intelligence, more captures, and more assassinations of Baathist insurgents. The paint can wait.
Enough already. No more losses just so the chattering classes can feel good about their readiness to sacrifice someone else for their moral principles.
It can't be coincidence any more. The Republican strategy is to enrage the L3s until their fat heads explode. Check out this: faith-based prison. And it's in Jeb's state as well.
Expect an epidemic of spontaneous combustion in the Bay area.
Peter Cuthbertson is posting again, but - for once - I think he's dead wrong. He's come out in favour of outsourcing. For starters, I have to say I've always found automatic response systems to be annoying in the extreme, and usually badly designed as well. Similarly, having dealt with an Indian call centre, I can safely say 'never again' for the company concerned. For myself, I think that outsourcing is not only a stupid management fad but is positively harmful to Britain.
The case for outsourcing relies on a kind of economic fundamentalism. First there's idea of comparative advantage, which is (crudely) the idea that it's best to do what you're best at. Second, the idea that mass firings free up labour and capital to go off and work on warp drives or whatever.
The second point is the easiest to refute. It may indeed hold true in the long term but, to quote Keynes, in the long-term we're all dead. It's twenty years since Lady T cut off life-support for heavy industry and still no starships have been built in Barnsley. Similarly, there's no law that says the resources have to stay in Britain. Success breeds success, and no one in their right mind would invest in a socialist hell hole like Liverpool. So the likely result of outsourcing is a net flow of capital, both human and financial, to somewhere more economically healthy.
As far as comparative advantage goes, the question is best for who ? It holds true, but only on a global scale. In other words, there are parallels here to the concept of humanitarian intervention - this time sacrificing jobs rather than soldier's lives to achieve some kind of greater good. Which is all very well and good, but no part of Britain's national interest.
There are many good reasons to oppose outsourcing. For the left, it's a no-brainer. They've pushed through a whole series of employment regulations, ensuring any employer who dosen't provide head massages to their employees risks a billion pound lawsuit. Surely the left, guardians of equality, aren't saying it's alright for employers to evade their responsibilities by running off to the Third World ? If it is, surely the left have no particular objection to Bhopal, after all, they've already conceded the principle ?
Of course, this doesn't take account of Tranzis, some of whom may be closer to power than many suspect. To these people losing jobs to Cheapistan is all part of the vast karmic levelling down between the evil West and the loveable Third World. They at least have a coherent world view, albeit one they're too slimly to articulate in public.
For the right, it is tempting to support outsourcing reflexively. However, just because the L3 use the same hysterical rhetoric to denounce big business as they use for conservatives, doesn't mean my enemy's enemy is my friend. On the contrary, big business has been useless in the culture wars and every conservative should enjoy the site of big business twisting in the wind. Similarly, the fact we hate the self-same employment regulations big business is trying to dodge, does not mean we don't have a dog in the fight.
Above all else, we on the right should never be afraid to say we put Britain's interest first. Neither tranzi nonsense or theoretical babbling about the big picture should deflect us from ruthlessly considering how best we can serve our nation's interest. Conservatives rhetoric tends to concentrate on the benefits of the free market, and indeed our ideal world would be a lot freer, but - libertarians aside - most on the right are not in favour of free trade. Conservatives support a whole range of restrictions on trade including restrictions on child pornography, plutonium and slave trading. There is no great hypocrisy in conservatives wanting to restrict outsourcing. Of course, it's possible for conservatives to argue that any cure is likely to be worse than the disease, but the debate is worth having.
Financial institutions have been most active in outsourcing yet, contra Marx, Hitler and other idiots, the financial markets are anything but free. Regulations abound, and many of them directly affect outsourcing. Take the role of the Financial Services Authority. This body supposedly regulates Britain's banks and is funded by levies on those banks. If many of the key functions of a British bank are sent to Upper Pooraeia, can they be regulated effectively ? Possibly, but why exactly should Fulchester Building Society pay higher fees to cover the costs of regulating Gigantic Bank PLC's operations in the Fourth World ? Equally, why should Gigantic Bank be allowed to present themselves as FSA regulated when a large part of their operations is beyond direct supervision ?
The principle holds true for many industries. They want to claim the cachet and the benefits of operating in Britain, without actually operating in Britain except in the most basic, flag of convenience way. I say let them go, but let them understand they are gone - in every sense of the word. Look at recent events in Istanbul. A bomb goes off at HSBC, and suddenly they're a British bank again. Now, standard disclaimer applies about assisting individual citizens in trouble abroad, but why exactly should we tax barmaids in Dudley to protect companies that have done all but film an ad with their management wiping their backside on the Union Flag ?
The people running the companies concerned are just a mirror image of the tranzi fools on the left. They claim to have outgrown archaic concepts like nationality and loyalty, to enter the new world of twenty-first century business. Fine, next time let them call Kofi's Klowns. Not a single pound should be spent to protect people who've made their contempt for us quite clear.
Live long enough, you see everything: the RSPCA wants to shoot a dog. Somehow I don't think it was a tough decision for the RSPCA to choose between animal welfare and sticking it to the Royals.
Still, at least this should ram home to people that the only thing different about the RSPCA, as opposed to other liberal pressure groups, is that it cloaks its hate in sanctimonious drivel about 'the animals' rather than 'the children'.
Saturday, December 27, 2003
Friday, December 26, 2003
Sometimes, you just gotta fisk. Like now for example: we fed Rover at the table and now he won't leave us alone.
Turns out the biggest issue facing our train wreck education system isn't rampant illiteracy, endemic bullying, ideological marking, non-existent teaching standards, corruption in the testing process, pervert teachers, drug abuse, bogus sickness claims or appalling personal hygiene.
An unprecedented clampdown on parents who take their children on holiday during term-time has been ordered by Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary.
He is being backed by head teachers' leaders, who are telling schools to review the policy of authorising breaks of up to two weeks, which are viewed by some parents as an entitlement.
Ha! As if you're entitled to do what's best for your kids. Everyone knows that they're government property, you just borrow them. Besides, they only have them for 42 weeks a year, so that missing almost 5% could make all the difference (although constant halts for 'in-service training' have no effect whatsoever, of course).
Funny how 'heads teacher leaders' aren't so finicky about local control when it's someone else ox being gored. Also ironic since, given the sickness rates among the teachoids, restricing them to two weeks a year would be a major achievement.
David Hart, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "Most head teachers are strongly opposed to authorising term-time absences and in the current climate I think they will be allowed only in exceptional circumstances."
Most head teachers are opposed to term-time absence. How interesting. Lets apply that principle more generally:
Head teacher: Waiter, I'd like to order the Chicken Madras
Waiter: Sorry, I'm strongly opposed to letting you order that.
Head teacher: Oh, naturally then, as a paying customer, I'm obliged to obey instantly whatever you say
No, sorry, can't see it somehow.
Thousands of families take children off school every year to take advantage of cheaper off-peak holiday deals but in future they may face fines of up to £100 on their return.
Ivan Lewis, the junior education minister, will confirm next week that penalty notices being introduced under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act will apply to holidays not authorised by head teachers.
There are so many things wrong with this, it ain't true. There's the liberal's trademark unsubstantiated smear, the suggestion that the families are just trying to save cash. If these morons can't imagine any other reasons, then the current state of the educational system become all too explicable. Add in the sheer lack of logic: the families are trying to save cash so they'll be charged £100. Given the price of even relatively modest holidays, going out-of-season should save more than that. So it ain't a deterrent. Nope, it's that thing again. A stealth tax. You can imagine the decision loop when someone tries to apply for a leave of absence: 'Well Mrs Citizen, I always consider carefully requests by proles, but I think I'll refuse and scalp you for £100'. Yeah, that'll work [and a vote of thanks to alleged human rights activists for taking a vow of silence over the fact that government employees will be able to seize assets without so much as the ghost of the shadow of an independent tribunal]. Finally, considering that a complete absence of physical and moral courage (and indeed all other types) is one of the most visible of the teachoids characteristics, the very parents who are most liable to take their kids out for frivolous reasons are those least likely to be fined. But, in the unlikely event that one of these no-marks tries to fine Jack McPsycho, the fragments from their newly-shattered nose may just fly into their brain and activate the dormant Clue Cortex.
Local authorities will be writing to parents in January warning them to bear in mind when booking holidays that permission will be given only in exceptional circumstances.
Alan Cogswell, the head of the school welfare service in Bury, Greater Manchester, said two groups of parents were to blame: "Those without a lot of money who say they can only afford off-peak prices and the more affluent parents who take their children off school so they can afford two holidays a year or take advantage of cheaper prices to upgrade their destinations, from Tenerife to the Caribbean for example."
So the problem is restricted to poor people and rich people, other than that no one really. Is this guy Goldilocks in disguise ? And he's quite happy that the measures he proposes will, by his own admission, result in large numbers of families having no holiday at all ? Equally, he's OK with the idea that other families should be trapped in 'battery hen' resorts in Spain, instead of going somewhere more interesting ? I mean, call this a radical idea, but even two weeks in the aforementioned Iberian hell hole has got to be some kind of learning experience - and that goes double for the more poncy holiday experiences, such as biking across France or whatever. One things for sure: the teachoids aren't going to lead by example, and give up their 10 weeks per year.
Head teachers are being advised to authorise up to 10 days only in exceptional circumstances, such as parents who have no choice over holiday times employers allow them because the companies close down for fixed periods.
And there's nothing the educrats like better than the chance to play God with the ordinaries (aka people with real jobs). Waiter, some sauce for this goose. Let's have teachoids forced to appear before a citizen's panel before they can be signed off for long-term sickness or take early retirment.
A large proportion of term-time holiday absences are at the beginning of the school year when pupils should be mixing with their peers and finding their feet, say head teachers
Yes, indeed. The kids need to find their feet after the traumatic switch from year three to year four: getting to grips with the new language, the different strength of gravity and having an extra arm. Or maybe this is a subtle admission that nothing of any use is learned during these first weeks anyway, I mean, given the state teachoids are in during the rest of the year, you can imagine how much use they'll be after a long lay-off.
Teachers say pupils missing a week or two during term disrupt the education of the rest of the class because they have to catch up before the whole group can move on.
Well, there goes mixed ability teaching. Plus, the policy of integrating special needs and asylum seeker pupils into mainstream schools. No doubt, they'll be issuing papers demanding a return to the 11+. Somehow, I think not.
There's no question of teachers carefully polling pupils on what they understand before moving on. Anyone who's been through British state schooling knows this (so that'll be about 90% of the adult population). The point is absurd, but that is the point. Remember this comment from above:
Most head teachers are strongly opposed to authorising term-time absences and in the current climate I think they will be allowed only in exceptional circumstances."
Note the qualifier: 'the current climate' - now, if something's wrong, it's wrong, and that's that. This addendum is by way of an admission that, far from being a matter of crucial importance, this whole battle is driven by short-term, tactical considerations.
What it's all about is this: the zeitgeist at the moment is very much in favour of greater accountability in schools. For one moment in history it looks like the nation's David Harts are going to actually have to answer for their results, or lack thereof. By trying to start a moral panic about parents taking their kids on holiday, the teachoids manage to do three things: get their excuses in first, create a distraction and try and maintain their monopoly on learning.
That last point is the important one. Imagine the most boring place in the world, namely Belgium. Yet, Brussels is one of the hubs of the EU which is - hate it or loathe it - sort of important. Likewise, a few miles outside Brussels is the site of Waterloo. In other words, in the dullest place on Earth you can visit the site where the French attempted to conquer Europe and a famous battlefield all in the same afternoon. Add in the fact that it is a foreign country and they don'speaka da Inglish, and it's fair to say even a day in Brussels can be more productive than a week back home listening to soap-dodging members of the salaried unemployed drone on about the PC BS d'jour. Heads would rather you didn't think that way, didn't question the value of some dirty, drug-sodden, going nowhere wastes of flesh droning at your kids for seven hours a day. This latest outrage is by way of the heads telling you to sit down, pay up and shut up, you stupid voters, you.
Back in the day, they had a catchphrase on 'Blankety Blank': the clue is in the question. So it is here. These people truly believe they can issue demands as to when and how, we, the paying customers, will make ourselves available to them. Isn't that the perfect barometer of just how Big Education has degenerated from a public service to a cesspool full of producer interests ? Enough already, if the kids aren't learning anything, it's the forty weeks they do spend in school, not the two weeks abroad that's to blame, and if David Hart or the rest of the deadbeats feel strongly about it, the door's that way.
The BBC (!!) reports that most people don't think fox hunting is the main priority for the government. Maybe I should have included that in my Dept Of The Obvious Post, but I think it goes a little deeper than that.
The NHS was selected as the main priority by nearly half the respondants, other popular choices were asylum, terrorism and universities. Only 2% thought fox hunting should be the highest priority. In short, most people's priorities are those areas where Nu Lab is weakest. That's one aspect of why Nu Lab is in trouble, but there's more to it.
For all the touchy-feely talk, Nu Lab has always relied on hatred in its political manouevering. In 1997 Nu Lab couldn't say that the economy was suffering under the Conservatives but there was no way the Tories were going to beat them in the 'hysterical denunciations of gun owners' stakes. The vile hatred unleashed on target shooters in the run up to the election set the pattern for what was to follow.
Since 1997, a series of bogeyman has appeared at regular intervals. Take the fuel dispute, with the government under fire for extortionate taxation suddenly the country was under seige from billionaire farmers, who lit huge cigars with Â£50 notes while riding over orphans in their Rolls Royces. Similarly, when the government tried to force through new contracts for hospital consultants it turned out that the average consultant only visits hospitals once a decade and drinks gin via the gallon.
There are obvious tactical benefites to this approach. Nu Lab manages to avoid dealing with the actual issues, while putting other bodies on notice what fate awaits them should they step out of line, but hate also has a more strategic role at the heart of Nu Lab.
Most organisations - and all politcal parties - are held together by a convergence of interests. Nu Lab consists of such a diverse group of mutually-incompatible special interests that's it's hard to see how they could agree on the date, let alone actual policy. Blair and his cohorts attempted to square this circle by replacing common interests with common enemies.
Even today, it's hard to tell if there ever was such a thing as a Nu Lab economic policy, but you knew that Nu Lab really, really hated fat cats [which, doubtless, also helped to shakedown campaign contributions - who wants to be named as a fat cat ?]. So it was with all their policies. You might not know what they were trying to do, but you sure knew who they hated. What more can you say about an administration whose top members included both Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell, two men who never advanced a single policy position but did manage a fair few assassinations.
That's why this poll is important. The public is focusing on the big issues. Now policy is all important, Nu Lab's cupboard is bare, and Blair can no longer distract anyone with bogeyman and hate figures
...has been hard at 'work' finding new and more complex ways to state what anyone down The Red Lion could've told them.
Children who do not get along with their classmates at the age of 10 often end up joining political parties or church groups as adults, according to a new study.
Researchers found that children's self-image could be so dented by their early experiences that they were drawn to organisations where their friends were ready-made and chances of rejection lower.
Researchers said they may also achieve some kind of status in a church group or political party not found in regular social circles.
So it's official: MPs are all wierdos and losers. That'll explain the oranges. It's not like they improve with age either. Samizdata mentions Tom Watson's Christmas message.
Christmas is a dangerous time of the year. Tree lights send 350 of us to hospital each year. 1000 people suffer trimmings damage. 17 people died through christmas candle disaster. This, before you even get in the kitchen.
I defy anyone to read that and not have a sudden desire to beat him up and steal his lunch money.
The Dissident Frogman has been making movies again.
Tim Blair speaks out on the subject of those excluded from today's celebration, namely the non-Boxites. Also, don't miss his collection of quotes of the year, covering everything from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Imagine my horror when I realised we were sharing our romantic evening with 100,000 angry extras from Mad Max II. Aside from the obvious annoyance of having dancing skeletons and filthy fat 'angels' outside our window all night, every time I opened my mouth to say 'I love you' in my most handsome tone, the words that appeared to come out were 'Peace in our time!', courtesy of some megaphone-fondling fuckwit a few yards away." -- Jack Marx’s attempt to celebrate Valentine's Day with his wife is ruined by protesters
"Anyone who doubts that the Iraqi Army is prepared to defend its capital should take the highway south of Baghdad. How, I kept asking myself, could the Americans batter their way through these defenses?"
That's the man who became a verb, raising an interesting philosophical question: is Fisk an L3 icon despite, or because of, his record of reporting anti-western delusion as cold, hard fact ?
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
Our bearded friends are obviously feeling a little singed after the public reaction to their attempts to strangle Christmas. Now they've changed tack: the Guardian's Madeleine Bunting claims it's all a secret Victorian plot.
Doubtless the turkey never cooks properly in her house because Mad Maddie uses up all the tinfoil on hats. Laban Tall gives this garbage a well-deserved kicking.
Denis MacShane got a roasting for saying this:
“It is time for the elected and community leaders of British Muslims to make a choice: it is the British way, based on political dialogue and non-violent protests, or it is the way of the terrorists against (whom) the whole democratic world is now uniting.”
Fighting words, hey ? Apparently so:
His comments were criticised as “an outrage and extremely disgraceful” by Anas Altikriti, director of communications for the Muslim Association of Britain. Mr Altikriti said: “I am disappointed with the Foreign Office when it should be bringing Muslims together to counter this disease that we are all fighting. What these comments do is divide and antagonise.”
Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, said: “It is ridiculous. “What does he want us to do? Apologise so much as to give an indication that somehow we are all responsible when we are not?” Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “We do not need lectures from a representative of a government that has conducted an unlawful war against Iraq. The Muslim community has consistently condemned terrorism and we condemn this latest attack.”
Except, would you believe it, up in the top bit of Wales, this happens:
North Wales Police Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom says anyone applying for a job in his force will have to sign a personal commitment to anti-racism.
So asking that prominent Muslims speak out against acts of terrorism is an outrage, but demanding cops sign a statement denouncing racist thought is A-OK. Apparently it's alright for the Filth to apologise so much as to give an indication that somehow they are all responsible.
These liberals - you really need a score card to keep up.
So, now we've caged Ian Huntley - for the next couple of years anyway - it's time for the knee-jerk overreaction to a side-issue. It looks like the Data Protection Act is up for a kicking. Given that the pressure for the act to be passed in the first place mainly emanated from the type of bearded whiner who worries that MI-5 are monitoring how long he spends on tits.com, this is strangely appropriate. A case of fighting fire with fire, or rather hysteria with hysteria. Still, in as much as the media has been prepared to scribble at great length about data definitions and the like, it's noteworthy how little attention has been paid to any issue wider than 'how do we stop perverts getting a school caretaker's job'. Liberals normally need sedating not to talk about 'root causes', but here they are manifestly avoiding the issue. So solidly observed has been the fatwa against speculation on whether Carr and Huntley's horrible family backgrounds may have made them the scum they are today that it suggests liberals have finally found an f-word they don't think should be used in polite company.
Needless to say, Theodore Dalrymple, the social conservative's social conservative, has been prepared to plunge straight in. Unfortunately, his article gives houseroom to two of the worst liberal myths. Really, Teddy, being the type of person who would commit horrible crimes is not the same as actually committing them. Likewise, it is possible to be genuinely opposed to something without that opposition revealing some deep-seated psychological flaws. Still, this article is virtually a lone example of the mainstream media suggesting that this case may raise questions that don't necessarily involve the Information Commissioner.
Dalrymple points out that, far from being an aberration, Huntley and Carr are representative of a large part of Britain's citizenry. I wouldn't necessarily go that far, but it's certainly true that both their adult lifestyles and their upbringing were nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, they were raised and lived in exactly the circumstances that we on the right are constantly being told we have to embrace in the hip'n'happening new Britain. Morals are out, do whatever you want is in. Twelve year old kids need access to birth control, but fathers are an optional extra. We on the right can say what we like about Huntley and Carr, but how about liberals ? For forty years, liberals have worshipped at the temple of Self. Now, belatedly, they find there are some forms of indulgence too extreme even for them. Welcome to the show.
Maybe Huntley and Carr were born bad, but if their nature was evil, then their environment could hardly have been better designed to produce amoral scum. Something has gone seriously wrong with British culture. Liberals response has been to claim that we need more of the same, that the answer to soaring family breakdown is to make it easier, that the failure of sex education to limit teenage pregnancies proves we need more of it…. The collapse of the family is the most serious problem facing Britain today but the liberal response to it is to sneer at those who won't join them in putting their hands over their ears and singing loudly whenever it's mentioned.
Two young children were slaughtered. Liberals think that proves we need to look at the rules covering data storage - could there be more proof of how morally and intellectually exhausted the modern left is ?
Jonah Goldberg reports this review of 'Atlas Shrugged' left on Amazon:
Go ahead, capitalists, read this awful book and enjoy its laughable message that you are somehow virtuous. Enjoy this fantasy as long as you can because justice will soon be served to you. Howard Dean will become president and you will then pay for your rape of the environment, exploitation of workers and selfish pursuits. No more slaps on the wrists. Jail time will be the norm, as it should be! There's no place you'll be able to hide, and no one will be able to save you. Your reign of darkness will come to an end. Mark my word!
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
One of the most annoying liberal tactics is to try and claim some kind of moral equivalence between the BBC and Sky. The argument goes that the BBC might spin like a top but Sky is owned by Rupert Murdoch, and we all know how big corporations spin for the right.
Well, no, we don't actually. In the culture wars big business has been MIA most of the time, and positivly harmful for a lot of the rest. Take this heartwarming tale of how AOL sought to censor a poem mocking the race-hustle known as Kwanzaa. Censor the poem ? AOL even block e-mails containing links to sites containing the poem.
To be fair to the left (it is almost Christmas), their ox has been gored by AOL too, but there's no doubt which side of the political divide is most active at trying to block supposed 'offensive speech'. Certainly, you have to question how many liberals will be prepared to protest this kind of heavy-handed censorship of paying customers e-mail.
Still, as if to prove how effectivly the internet bypasses this kind of attempted chokehold, the poem's now up at The American Spectator site, so click and enjoy.
Monday, December 22, 2003
One of the most significant signs that the government is firmly on the downward slope is the way minor stories that would've been brushed aside in 1997 or 1998 now develop traction.
The Commonwealth breakfast Olympic scandal is quite heartwarming in its own way - at least if you're a conservative - since it confirms there may be some point to that organisation after all, plus it may well scupper Livingstone's folly before it's gobbled up too much cash.
The hospital ratings scandal is, both by virtue of its subject and the nature of the charges, more serious. Nevertheless, in the honeymoon period Princess Tony would've been able to slither his way through it with his trademark 'pretty, straight kinda guy' BS whereas now people are actually looking at the substance of the charges. To those of us who never trusted the smirky rat, these allegations are nothing new but, for the first time, the public at large is coming to understand the true nature of New Labour. Hopefully, it's not so much the end of the honeymoon, more the beginning of the divorce.
Oops... did I say tax, I meant levy.
Nightclubs linked to persistent bad behaviour in town centres could be forced to pay part of the cost of policing and cleaning up the area.
Doncha'luv it ? 'Linked to bad behaviour' - let me guess how high that particular bar will be set. Particularly when you bear in mind that the 'bad behaviour' will presumably be recorded by the self-same Police that stand to gain from shaking-down allegedly naughty clubs.
The longer opening hours that are allowed under the Licensing Act 2003 will take effect in March 2005, just before the likely date of the next election.
While the greater freedom may please some voters, if it is accompanied by disorderly behaviour and late-night nuisance it could also backfire.
As opposed to the universal peace and brotherhood which reigns over our cities at the moment. So, if there's any violence post-March 2005, then it's all the fault of the brewers.
Mark Hastings of the British Beer and Pub Association said it contributed £15 billion to the Treasury on sales taxes alone and was already paying towards police funding.
What a total amateur, as if sane and rational arguments are going to impress this government. And he gets worse:
"The industry should not be asked to pay more," he added. "Also, if pubs start paying for the police then the local bobby will end up standing outside the Dog and Duck rather than policing areas that might have greater problems."
As if. The Filth have got better things to do than deal with the problems of actual taxpayers. They've got to hunt down motorists, grovel to PC victim groups and offer tongue baths to political hacks.
Industry leaders believe new laws in the Anti-Social Behaviour Act, which will give the police power to levy fixed-penalty notices and close down premises that routinely give rise to fights outside, are the way forward.
Well, yeah. If you think that perfectly ordinary, sane people can be driven wild by the decor inside the Dog'n'Duck, then yes, you'd better close it down. But these new proposals go completely the other way. The Dog'n'Duck will become a cash cow for the Filth - the Police will have not the slightest interest in seeing the place closed down and their revenue source cut off. In short, it's a legal version of accepting a pay-off to turn a blind eye.
This view is shared outside the Home Office. Kim Howells, the former consumer affairs minister now at transport, told a select committee inquiry into late-night entertainment: "Remember that people in this country spend £26 billion on alcohol and a lot of that goes to the Treasury.
"This is a huge employer of people - probably a minimum of half a million people in London are employed in those industries. It is just a little word of caution really. Jobs can be created but jobs can disappear as well."
Let's see, the government has a choice between the economic well-being of the country and a short-term looting frenzy. Decisions, decisions...
But the select committee was inundated by evidence from organisations complaining that the character of many inner cities was being ruined by nightclubs and drinking establishments.
Given the character of our inner-cities, I'd say ruin away. But who are these organisations anyway ? Broadly-based representative bodies ? Or six lemon-sucking, boot-faced beer Nazis, screeching and stamping their feet because they're offended by the fact there's people in this country whose recreational options don't involve the possibility of wrist cramp ?
Many fear that the dominance of youth entertainment would undermine separate plans to revive inner cities by encouraging young families to return there.
This is the type of bogus nostalgia that gives us social conservatives a bad name. When exactly was this Golden Age when mater and pater would load up picnic basket and take their kids into the city for a 2 AM supper ? The 50's (19-- or 18--) ?
The drinks industry has already resisted approaches from police in Manchester and Newcastle to pay for extra policing.
And, as a result of discovering they can't intimidate people into paying twice for a service they don't even deliver once, the Filth were forced to make massive cutbacks amongst their Lesbian Whale community liaison officer, eco-friendly counselor and slimly PR flack sections.
No, sorry, that's just wishful thinking.
Looks like I fell for some sleight of hand myself. A correspondant reminds me that the hospitality industry doesn't actually contribute £15 billion, it merely supervises the transfer of it from customers to the Treasury.
Nevertheless, not only are these measures are designed to cut down on drinking (and so tax recipts), but both the companies concerned and their staff pay tax, so it's still true to say this is a case of robbing Peter to pay Porky.
if the UN's offering to help us out.
VIENNA, Austria - The head of the U.N. atomic watchdog agency said Monday he will lead the first inspection of Libya's nuclear facilities as soon as next week, aiming to kick-start the elimination of the country's programs for weapons of mass destruction.
Actually, it's the Lizardoid King who pointed out the real sting in the tail in this story:
Libya has admitted to nuclear fuel projects, including the possession of centrifuges and centrifuge parts used in uranium enrichment — a nuclear effort more advanced than previously thought. It also agreed to tell the IAEA about current nuclear programs and to adhere to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
As Charles says, every time we get a fleeting glance at the Axis of Evils cards, it turns out they're far further along than 'everybody' thought - not least the UN. Yet still the moonbats say we shouldn't have gone into Iraq until we detected an imminent threat. We can't predict next week's weather, but the left wants us to play thermonuclear chicken with dictators.
Sunday, December 21, 2003
The Beeb can't quite decide.
A trailer for Radio 2's 'The Good Book' features some maroon explaining that, it's "an awful simile, but that Jesus was like a suicide bomber in that he believed his death was the important thing".
I heard the trailer in question during 'The Jeremy Vine Show'. I didn't have a pen & paper to hand at the time and I figured with something so ludicrous, perhaps I'd misheard. So thanks to this guy for confirming the outrage.
Never mind the awful theology, it's a disgrace to see the BBC suggest that suicide bombers are suffering from an excess of despair, or feelings of inadequacy or whatever other fashionable malady d'jour. It's a blatant attempt to push the therapeutic meme, the idea that people who blow up crowded restraunts are the real victims . Well, these people aren't taking an overdose or hanging themselves. They choose to detonate on crowded buses or in bars because they want to kill infidels. The desire to kill overides their own survival instincts - it is pure hate that drives them, as evidenced by their own testimonies.
Maybe we'd take more seriously the Beeb's babbling about 'root causes if they themselves gave the slightest sign of understanding the true nature of those they support.
You know it's been a bad week for the moonbats when even the New York Times praises Bush [via the Instaman]. Still, even as lightweight traitors like the NYT grovel before the BushHitler, one Dyke remains to hold back the rising tide of Clue . Remember, as long as Nicholas watches this garbage, you don't have to. To sum up Nick's summary, it's a victory for peace, love and traditional healing. Anglo-American power had nowt to do with it.
Libya's promise to surrender its weapons of mass destruction was forced by Britain and America's seizure of physical evidence of Col Muammar Gaddafi's illegal weapons programme, the Telegraph can reveal.
And, besides, it just shows how Iraq distracted us from the real issues, except if you believe that Silvio Berlusconi, who that fascist Tim Blair points out, said this to The Spectator in September.
I cannot say which country he was from, but someone telephoned me the other day and said, I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid.
But, anyway, it shows what can be achieved if we move from Bush's simplistic babblings about a so-called 'axis of evil'.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi took the decision to renounce all weapons of mass destruction (WMD) on Friday night, but while at first it was thought this only had implications for Libya it is now clear that his decision has scuppered a secret partnership between Libya, Iran and North Korea formed with the intention of developing an independent nuclear weapon.
New documents revealed yesterday show that the three were working on the nuclear weapons programme at a top-secret underground site near the Kufra Oasis of the Sahara in southeastern Libya. The team was made up of North Korean scientists, engineers and technicians, as well as some Iranian and Libyan nuclear scientists.
North Korea and Iran, originally dubbed by Bush as the axis of evil along with Iraq, avoided detection by the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) inspectors by each member farming out vital sections of its projects to its fellow members.
Iran, which is now in the final stages of uranium enrichment for its program, is badly hit, having counted on fitting into place key parts of its WMD project made in Libya. North Korea may also be forced to scale back the production of nuclear devices as well as counting the loss of a lucrative source of income for its Scuds and nuclear technology.
Interesting feedback on my 'Dispatches' post. I figured the points raised were probably of more general interest, so I'll address them here.
When I refer to the need for scrutiny, I'm really referring to public scrutiny of the legal process itself. All of the judges featured in 'Dispatches' refused to co-operate with the program, a typical comment being that the judge 'wouldn't be questioned by a TV company'. How come journalists, who insist on shot-by-shot briefings in Iraq, take this sort of thing with nary a whimper ? For once, the cliché is justified: when it comes to the operation of the legal system, the public has a right to know.
As far as accountability goes, that's tied up with the definition of independence. Traditionally, parliament has made the law and the role of the courts has been solely to interpret it. Were this model still being followed, then the case for greater judicial accountability would be far weaker. However, we are now faced with the rise of activist judges who rule on what the law should be, not what it is.
Consider the execution of a relatively recent change in the law, which mandates a two-year sentence for a second burglary conviction, except in exceptional circumstances. In the first year of operation, the law was not invoked once - every single case was judged to be exceptional. You either think this is a disgraceful thwarting of parliament's will or a tribute to judicial independence. Incidentally, what you believe doesn't necessarily reflect traditional political boundaries: Blairites and paternalist Tories in the Heathite mode will tend to go one way, and union stalwarts and Thatcherites the other. Whatever, but it shows the difficulty parliament runs into trying to draft laws that are not open to this kind of abuse.
What we have at present is the worst of all possible worlds. Judges act as though the parliament's output was labelled 'for advice only', and face no sanctions whatsoever. As a result, the administration of justice becomes increasingly arbitrary and estranged from the views of the public at large. Where judges have, through incompetence or arrogance, acted outside of the law, then they should face sanctions. That's the key point, of course, judges should only be disciplined for ignoring the law. Provided this rule is followed, and the media remains vigilant, then there is little risk of politicians using the disciplinary process to influence judges.
My correspondent reminds me that the alternative interpretation of judicial independence refers to the appointment of judges. Should politicians have a role in appointing judges ? I 'd say ideally no, but that battle may be lost already. It's hard to believe the rise of (for example) Dame Brenda Hale is unconnected to the fact that, like New Labour itself, she is rabidly feminist. I'm not optimistic about whether we can put this genie back into the bottle.
Paradoxically, judicial independence in presiding over cases may require politicisation of the selection process. If Howling Mad Hale were a mere interpreter of the law then her extreme anti-family views would be irrelevant but, given that she will be allowed to (seemingly) pluck law out of thin air, then it's a serious matter that her views are rejected by the vast majority of the public. Add in that we already have a pretty well politicised judiciary, and it seems the best we can do is to bring it out in the open. In this respect, we can learn a lot from the US, where the whole process is much more open. Certainly, it is hard to believe Labour would have put forward Dame Brenda had they known the public would have the chance to see her explain to a select committee exactly what she thinks of marriage.
Friday, December 19, 2003
No matter the actual form of words used, whenever BBC hacks talk about allegations of bias they always try and subtly imply that all the complainants are crazed Conservative bigots [actually, they'd probably call that a redundancy]. The line is that the critics are just so blinded by their fanaticism that even impartial reporting looks biased.
So what's with C4 then ? If anything, Channel 4 is generally far to the left of the BBC. Why does the BBC draw so much fire, while C4 gets away with far less flak ? Well, for a start there's the fact that the Channel 4 doesn't demand money with menaces. Jon Snow may be a nutjob, but at least we're not forced to subsidise his villa in Tuscany. Still, there are other factors. Channel 4 may proselytise liberalism but at least that's less annoying than the BBC habitual presentation of liberal talking points as though they were eternal truths cast in stone. Also, while the BBC's liberal worldview contaminates just about everything it produces short of 'The Sky At Night', C4 does occasionally allow conservative thought to sneak onto the screen. Even so, Thurs 18 Dec edition of Dispatches probably caused large numbers of the public to predict the onset of the end-times.
The program, titled 'Judges In The Dock', contained frank criticism of the performance of the judiciary. Just saying that shows how unusual a program this was. Even post-1997 the judiciary - far more than parliament - has been the liberal's preferred tool of social engineering. For C4 to air this type of analysis shows exactly the type of disinterested commitment to truth that is DOA at the Beeb.
There were other things to admire about the program. It was a shrewd decision only to feature those cases where the Court of Appeal had already overruled the judge in question, since that nicely let C4 out of arguing the facts of the case since the judiciary itself had decided there were errors made. The reporter, Mark Easton, managed avoid mawkish sentimentality without ignoring the fact that judge's decisions impact on real people. Kudos to the victims, here. They told their stories in simple and unemotional terms, and the effect was all the more compelling for that.
What Easton found - not insignificantly, there is no central record of overturned cases - was a number of judges who are regularly overruled by the Court of Appeal. In what was an indisputably brave move for someone in the media, Easton covered not only cases of judicial harshness but also cases of inappropriately lenient sentencing. Not only that, but Easton was prepared to talk about inadequate sentencing in the context of child abuse cases, which - as I may have mentioned once or twice - will brand him forever as a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal in certain circles.
Still, with all that, it wasn't perfect. A victims rights activist appeared early on, but after that the only normal people permitted to speak were victims talking about their particular circumstances. When it came to diagnosing problems, possible reforms and the like, only lawyers were consulted. Leaving aside questions of foxes and hen houses, lawyers are hardly more representative of normal society than judges. Both are firmly within the bubble, and accept uncritically much that is debatable.
Certainly, I think few people will have been as shocked as one barrister clearly was that a particular judge gave stiff sentences to offenders 'no matter how eloquent a speech' the barrister gave. Likewise, it's hard not to see a certain chutzpah in hearing a barrister complain that the appeal process is expensive (must be the cost of all that stationary). In particular, Mark Easton accepted uncritically the constant refrain from both lawyers and judges that judges had to be independent. Independent of what ? The government of the day, and the vagaries of public opinion ? No complaint here, but should judges be independent of the views and morals of their fellow citizens ? Wouldn't that lead to the judiciary functioning not as servants of the public, but as colonial governors, helping to civilise the savage masses ?
It is depressing to note that two separate individuals employed the well-known 'gratuitous Daily Mail reference'. Given that this is Britain's best selling paper, they were effectively telling eight million people that the courts had no interest in serving them. Similarly, another judge explained the large number of his sentences that were increased at the Court of Appeal by explaining that he sought to 'turn criminals away from crime', while the Court of Appeal is concerned with 'public perception'. A barrister opposed increased transparency since that would tempt judges to 'pander to the media'. This is not being independent, this is outright contempt for the citizenry of this nation.
The highest concentrations of humbug came when Easton raised the possibility of disciplinary action against judges. It's hard to take seriously judicial complaints about judges 'having to look over their shoulder' and 'being spied on' when considered in the context of the Saville inquiry, MacPhearson and several other varieties of sauce for the goose.
One complaint though: Easton kept referring to 'old-boy networks', 'old school ties' and similar chippy clichés. Really, Mark, it ain't the fifties any more. With howling mad marriage-hater Dame Brenda Hale being appointed a Law Lord, Lord Hoffmann forgetting he's a member of Amnesty and the Wicked Witch shipping the loot home to No 10 by the truck load, it's fair to say that an excess of Conservatism is unlikely to be the source of all the problems in the legal system.
This, in fact, was the real, underlying problem with this report. Mark Easton was never prepared to take his ideas to their logical conclusion. As a liberal, Mark Easton shares many of the judiciaries' prejudices about the public, thus he isn't prepared to see power transferred from the judges to the citizenry. Instead, Easton tries to square the circle by blaming it all on a load of Tristan D'Muppet-Swagglers. For liberals, transparency and accountability are code words for turfing out the nobs, then carrying on in the same old way. The system needs real transparency and accountability. As a conservative, I'd say the collapse of the legal system was inevitable. Freed of public accountability and proper scrutiny, it was always going to go bananas. They always do.
Nevertheless, Easton has broken the taboo, and that takes courage. Maybe we should send a tape to Greg Dyke so he can see what real journalism is ?
Thursday, December 18, 2003
Remember Bjorn Lomborg, famous proven scientific fraudster ? Turns out his critics will have to find a new stick to beat him with. Iain Murray reports that the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has thrown out the charges put forward by the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty relating to Lomborg's book 'The Skeptical Environmentalist' .
Looking at the Ministry report, the question isn't so much why they were thrown out, as why anyone thought they'd get away with such a blatant smear job in the first place. Try this for an example of the committee's thought process:
The DCSD has not substantiated its ruling. Dr Lomborg has not been told exactly where he has, allegedly, made mistakes. This is a case of "significant neglect in case processing by the DCSD".
Yes, indeed, they claimed they'd found errors, but wouldn't say where. Convincing, much ?
Still, the war isn't halfway won. The Instaman points out that six editors at 'Climate Research' have been given the old heave ho' for allowing papers showing the wrong truth to be published. The paper in question cast doubt on the greenhouse effect, so firing was positively lenient. No doubt they'd have been burnt at the stake, but the ecofreaks were worried about releasing CO2.
Stop me if you've heard this before, but there's an interesting debate going on at Peter Cuthbertson's place. It's about Christmas, and the PC dolts attempting to secularise it. It reminded me of this excellent article by A E Huggett, which shows just how many of what we think of as purely secular Christmas traditions actually have Christian roots. So the fools have a big job on their hands. Still, the point is well made that, as usual, big business has been about as much use a fireproof cigarette in this latest battle in the culture wars - and that this may ultimately rebound on these idiots
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Interesting debate going on at Peter Cuthbertson's place about Chuckie K and the Lib Dems role in life. Just to expand on a point I made over there, I think a mistake many people make when dealing with the Lib Dems is to treat them as though they followed the same paradigm as the Conservatives and Labour.
Of course, Lib Dems seek to pick up votes from disgruntled socialists and conservatives. Equally obviously, many of their current problems stem for their attempts to simultaneously appeal to people who think the Conservative Party is too Conservative and people who think Labour isn't Labour enough. But, the X-factor that I think many people neglect is that there is, at the heart of the Party, a core of people who are committed Lib Dems.
The temptation is to say 'committed to what ?'. Certainly, so many of the Lib Dems actual policies are so slippery, tactical, short-term and contradictory that it's a fair comment as far as politics goes, but that ain't what these people are about. Consider CK's attempt to brand the Lib Dems as the 'anti-politics political party' or their current strategy which, stripped of qualifiers and blather, boils down to 'Go back to your constituencies and prepare for opposition'.
Conservatives and socialists want to win power and bring about change. Lib Dems want to be James Dean in 'Rebel Without A Cause', Socrates and Galileo all rolled into one: wild, iconoclastic, devil-may-care yet also brilliant. Or, alternatively, geeky, political glue sniffers. Whatever, but the point remains that a large part of the base regards being wacky as more important than being electable. This is why Kennedy saw nothing wrong with sharing a platform with people like George Galloway and Tariq Ali. This is why every year Lib Dem conference, without fail, passes at least one motion of the 'free heroin for schoolchildren' type.
The Lib Dems can't become a mainstream party, since so much of its core support is heavily invested in an image of themselves as outsiders. There's cause and effect here, obviously. Take the notorious penny on income tax, which will be used to pay for everything in the whole world twice over. Never mind the political effectiveness of promising to raise taxes, the sums don't stand up to any kind of scrutiny, but then that's not the point. It's meant to establish the Lib Dems as different. They know, and we know, that they'll never have to put it into effect. They're not here to do things, they're here to be noticed. What more can you say about a Party whose main objective in the next election is to unseat Michael Howard ? As ever with the Lib Dems, mooning the squares is as far as their strategy goes.
Those pesky dissidents at EUROSOC have been handing out the awards for services to the prevention of the onward march into the glorious future. It's all good stuff but how's this for a neat summary of what Iraq did to the EU ?
Federalists thought the split in Europe caused by the Iraq War highlighted the need for a common EU foreign policy. In reality, it showed the impossibility of a common foreign policy.
Could there be a better example of the absurdity of our European adventure than this ? We're taking orders on how to run a navy from the Europeans. You need to visit an old folk's home to find a European who's fired a warshot, and they always lost even then.
Don't be shocked, but another article of faith amongst the educrats has just been blown out of the water.
Remember how 'value-added' tables, which show how much a pupil has improved since starting at a school, were going to expose successful grammar schools as the star-spotting, talent-looting trash they are ? The latest round of 14 year old's test results are in, and they reveal that not only do grammar schools dominate the top of the table, but they also dominate the 'value-added' tables. In other words, far from their success being the result of cherry picking, grammars are more successful than their competitors at actually developing talent. All of which will have the teaching unions reaching for the cyanide.
The unions have always maintained that schools are only as successful as they pupils they take in. This demonstration that successful schools are also those which are most successful at developing talent makes that position untenable. Success isn't just blind luck and sociology after all. Good teaching can develop talent, and where success is lacking then questions can be asked about the quality of teaching.
Any bets as to how long before Ian Huntley becomes a liberal cause celebre ? I give it three years before some Guardian journalist writes a sympathetic bio, five before some scumbag lawyer (sorry for the redundancy) first claims he was traumatised by his childhood and didn't get a fair trial due to the press, eight before the Court of Appeal slashes the tariff, fifteen before he gets out and fifteen years one month until he kills again.
So go on then liberals, what am I missing here ? What facet of his personality am I missing ? What redeeming human qualities does he have ? What exactly are the grey areas we conservatives keep being urged to consider ?
Even many conservatives, Anne Widdicombe for one, are against the rope on moral or practical grounds. I can understand that. What I can't understand is liberals who think the Huntleys of this world should ever again be permitted to walk the streets. But people who protest mobile phone masts because, hey - they might cause some kind of problem in some people somehow, will nevertheless argue that Huntley deserves a shipload of rights. They'll argue that they have the right to know about someone growing GM crops within five miles, but will claim we don't have a right to know if the bloke opposite is a proven killer. Maybe they're Christians who genuinely believe no one is irredeemable ? Except, some of the people who are most strongly supportive of scum-coddling are also the ones who think faith schools are like Hitler Youth camps, only worse.
So what is it ? Is it just snobbery and the desire not to be on the same side as the News of the World ? Is it the urge to shock the squares ? What reason exactly do these people have for why we should accept the constant slaughter of youngsters like Holly and Jessica. These people shed crocodile tears over losses in Iraq, constantly asking 'Is it worth it ? [even though they hate the Army and always have]'. Well, here's two kids cut down before they'd even started living. Was it worth it ?
No, this isn't an argument for the type of fascist BS some people are suggesting. If someone is found innocent, then they're innocent. No way should we accept the suggestion that people accused of particularly nasty crimes should be considered guilty, even though the State can't, y'know, get an actual verdict through. Maybe nothing could have been done to save these kids, but we sure can save Huntley's next victims. Just like we can save the victims of thousands of other perverts. We need to stop accepting pedophilia as part of our civilisation, it isn't, it's a repudiation of it. It's a scandal that in parts of our country it's more acceptable to defend paedophiles than to tell the one about Sir Elton going through Customs. Killing kids is one thing, but insensitive language - that really gets a liberals goat.
I say enough already. If nothing else, after this trial no one can say they don't know what paedophiles do. They aren't folks like us. They don't have a different point of view. They're scum who prey on the innocent. No more rights for vermin. When [and only when] a paedophile is positively identified, then all bets are off. No more with Chief Constables explaining that perverts have the right to stalk their next victims in perfect safety. We are at war with them. Holly and Jessica were casualties of that war. How many will it take before liberals shut the hell up and let us nail these low-lifes ?
So I'll say it again: liberals, am I missing something ?
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Check out this story.
Yes, indeed. Liberals are all-a-batey because the plaque on the Enola Gay mentions it's last raid, but doesn't specifically point out that popping an atom bomb in a crowded city causes casaulties. Who'd have thunk it ?
The excellent Mel P today:
All the interesting ideas and all the serious and impressive thinking are now to be found on the right. That's not to say all their ideas are good, by any means; nor is it to say that the Conservative party is either coherent or principled (it is not). It simply means that the left has nothing any more to say that's worth listening to, because it has lost its raison d'etre. It is an empty shell, mired in adolescent fantasies of world transformation which mean that, having uprooted itself from its own ideological base, it can only trample down and vandalise the institutions and values of the society that spawned it -- and then call that 'progress'.
While, in todays Times, there's this:
THE Labour chairman of a powerful Commons committee yesterday called for radical changes to the honours system, including the removal of all references to the British Empire.
Nothing says serious revolutionary like changing the honours system.
What is it with Ecoloons ? Every single protest, at least 25% of the banners reference one book. This one. I mean, Mary Shelley may have been a great writer and all but c'mon.... what's up with a bit of originality ?
So, anyway, Mary Shelley has gone down in pop culture as the spiritual mother of the anti-science brigade. That's as maybe, but have you noticed how most Hollywood versions let the scientists off the hook ?
Every time the castle gets stormed, it's by a mob of peasants. Maybe I'm not to up on social divisions but, it's fair to say, if someone round here was robbing graves and using the body parts to create homicidal monsters, then even the folks with BMWs in the drive would be really upset. But no, in so far as 'Frankenstein' lodged the idea of the mad scientist into pop culture, it also gave birth to the idea that opposing a Frankenstein meant you were some kind of ignorant bumpkin.
Even today, scientists are still getting a free ride due to that perception. Take how Black Triangle covers Michael Meachers' latest statement. Mikey spoke thus:
I think people who say we need to go by the science, and people don't understand the science, it's too complicated, and if only they knew as much as we did then they'd take the same decision - I think that is deeply cynical, anti-democratic and unacceptable.
To which Anthony replies:
I wonder, if we had a democratic vote that gravity was a conspiracy peddled by Boeing and British Airways, would Meacher jump off the white cliffs of Dover and try to fly to Paris?
As ever with Black Triangle, whatever you feel about the nature of the views expressed, it is refreshing to hear the equation stated so clearly. The agenda of the scientific community is antagonistic to the principles of democratic government and the rule of law. It's that simple.
But, what isn't that simple is the choice Anthony implies, between the Science Collective and the new-age freaks. Time for an analogy: it's possible to say that the Pentagon's bureaucratic structures have failed to adapt to the new realities of the Age of Terror, without necessary being a pacifist. In fact, many of the people saying this want to reform the Pentagon to increase its war fighting abilities. So it is with those of us who say British science needs reforming with a chainsaw.
We don't believe that death is an alternative form of consciousness, dogs are telepathic and gravity's a social construct. We believe in science - we just wonder how many scientists do these days. We don't buy new-age BS and we don't buy head-patting, patronising drivel from Labocrats with axes of their own to grind. What we want is, to coin a phrase with a truly horrible history, a third way between the mindlessly infantile posturing of the freaks and the arrogant ranting of the white-coated cultists. We're not going to run off a cliff to stick it to them Frankensteins with their 'gravity' but we sure aren't going to mill round outside the castle while the geeks urinate on us from the battlements while claiming they're 97.84% sure it's raining.
Michael 'Jurassic Park' Crichton summed up this point of view perfectly in his Caltech Michelin Lecture ,which blew most of the Scienceoids boats out of the water. Try this next time you hear one of them invoke the scientific consensus:
I would remind you to notice where the claim of consensus is invoked. Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.
Fabulous. Read the whole thing.
All of Crichton's ideas for fixing up science are excellent, but I think he still holds back from going for the throat. Why talk about 'scientific fraud' anyway ? Is it fraud or isn't it ? Why is it an offence for a shopkeeper to fiddle his taxes but when publicly-funded scientists fiddle their figures to score grants or publications, it's treated as a big joke ?
Or, moving on to the scandal d'jour: whatever view you take on the safety of MMR, the performance of the scientific establishment has been a disgrace. The Financial Services Authority demands as one of it's central principles that firms must 'deal with regulators in an open and co-operative way, and must disclose to the FSA appropriately anything relating to the firm of which the FSA would reasonably expect notice'. How's that for a compare & contrast with the way even public sector scientists go about their business ? How did we ever get to the position where people selling building's cover had to meet higher standards than people working with Ebola virus ? Who knows ? But, the question is worth asking, and many more like it.
All this is, of course, vaguely familiar to Conservatives. Scientists present themselves as especially enlightened. The law is for the ordinaries, and public scrutiny is unwelcome because the oiks wouldn't know what they were hearing anyway. Scientists claim to exist on a higher plane, helping to guide us to the new tomorrow. Is it any wonder that there is no term more redundant than left-wing scientist ? We on the right have bought into the idea of pure science, neglecting that, though science may be pure, the scientists are anything but. Look at the virtual lynching of Bjorn Lomberg for proof of that. We need to recognise that Sciencism is just the same old socialist monster in a lab coat. And so, my fellow Conservatives, I will conclude on this point: last one to the castle is a social worker!
Sunday, December 14, 2003
Regular lgf commentor 'Iowahawk' breaks the really big news of the day:
ULULULULU! U.S. Troops Capture Saddam Hussein at ZZTop Concert.
Celebratory gunfire heard in Baghdad, Tikrit and DemocraticUnderground: if he beats the rap, this really throw the nomination up for grabs.
"Dem Campaign Heats Up As Saddam Tosses Hat In Ring"
Des Moines, IA - Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and his upstart "Straight Talk Jihad" presidential campaign completed the third day of a campaign swing across the Hawkeye State Friday, buoyed by a new Des Moines Register poll showing growing support among core Democratic voters.
The latest Register Iowa Poll of likely Democratic caucus voters, conducted between July 27 and July 29, shows Saddam leading the field with 23% support, followed by former Vermont Governor Howard Dean with 17%, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry with 16%, and write-in candidate Pol Pot with 8%.
Saddam showed even higher positives on specific key Democratic issue items, such as "the candidate who cares most about people like me" (46%), "most likely to stop the war" (59%), and "most likely to feed Donald Rumsfeld into an industrial shredder" (71%).
More good stuff by following the link.
If ever an entire organisation could be put on suicide watch, then it'll be the BBC tonight. The Robin Hood of Arabia has been captured by uSS Forcesand chemists around SW1 are experiencing a sudden hike in demand for razors and sleeping pills.
Still, even amongst disaster the Beeb can fight back the only way it knows how, by spinning like a top. A E Brain has the goods on how the Beeb's 'Talking Points' feature carries a wide range of views across the whole spectrum of moonbats. Or try these examples of ordinary Man-In-The-Street views:
It sounds more fantastic than one may think for a person of Saddam Hussein's military strength to be arrested in a simple way like that expressed by Paul Bremer. It is not my intention to negate the news but one has to approach it with caution.
Angelo J, Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania
His military strength has gone to Hell to regroup.
Still, this next one comes from a predictable source:
I'm a bit sad that it puts an end to this battle of David against Goliath. We must acknowledge that Saddam Hussein is a cunning, if not a talented leader. He may look defeated, tired, dejected but when you think of all the means deployed to get rid of him, it's just a tremendous achievement to have been able to survive.
Bernard Franck Dehlinger, Ris-Orangis, France
Trust a Frenchman to be impressed by a well-conducted surrender.
I am very sorry to hear the news. I believe that he was the leader of not only the Iraqi people but also the Muslim people against the USA.
Iqbal Chowdhury, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Except the ones he killed, obviously.
Incidentally, I didn't cherry pick these three ambassadors from Outer Monheadia. Their effusions were on the page, one after the other. Certainly, they're hardly unrepresentative of what our State broadcaster extorts money from us to help spread.
For a more rational approach, head on over to Biased BBC and check out the comments. Most of it's good stuff, but here's the best, from Susan:
Fuck the BBC and fuck the horse they rode in on. "Have Your Say" would have probably broadcast regrets from Oswald Moseley after the Allies found Hitler and Eva Braun dead in the bunker.
Have a happy Christmas, Boss Hogg. You've just been sucker-punched by a simple-minded cowboy from Crawford, Texas. How does it feel?
What she said.
The outrages keep coming down in Buckinghamshire. First, there was this exercise in PC prostration:
A church has been told that it cannot publicise its Christmas services on a community notice board to avoid offending other religions.
The Church of England may be the established faith of the United Kingdom. But Buckinghamshire county council regards it as a "religious preference group" and the ban was upheld yesterday.
Officials from All Saints, High Wycombe, Bucks, hoped to promote the service of nine lessons and carols and midnight mass by displaying an A4 size poster on a board in the town's public library.
The poster contained no message or religious exhortation, simply the dates and times of the services.
Well, alright, you can sort of justify it as a hard line Jeffersonesque approach, with all manner of metaphorical walls separating Church & State. Except now we find out this:
A library that banned the display of posters promoting Christmas services for fear of offending other religions hosted a party to celebrate a Muslim festival only days earlier.
Church officials in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, were told by the town's public library last week that their posters could not be displayed because they pertained to a "religious preference group".
It emerged yesterday, however, that a party to celebrate Eid, the breaking of the fast of Ramadan, had been held there less than a week previously.
I believe the technical term for this type of situation is busted.
Let's not beat around the bush here. These people have been caught in outright, in-your-face, religious discrimination. Does anyone seriously doubt that if it had occurred the other way round the PC lynch mobs wouldn't be gathering on the steps of the Town Hall ? This isn't people singing 'Ba Ba Black Sheep', or referring to the nitty-gritty. If you wanted a textbook example of prejudice, this would be it. Which, of course, raises the question of why the dogs haven't barked ? Apparently, some forms of bigotry are acceptable after all. So, let's bear that in mind next time we hear some of the race hustling pond scum like Trevor Phillips, Dianne Abbot or Lee Jasper moralising on TV.
But what of the Council ? How have they reacted to this revelation of bigots operating within their own organisation ? Well, 'apologetic' isn't quite the word.
Margaret Dewar, the councillor who is responsible for libraries, said: "I am appalled at the attitude of these so-called Christians making such a fuss about this policy. The way they have reacted to the children's party is just shocking."
Well, actually, the Christians never reacted to the Party at all. They don't mind the party, they just want the same rights themselves. But, that's not the worst of it. What exactly qualifies this atheistic hack to judge who is, and is not, a Christian ? Will the witch in question be stopping off at the local mosque to advise on who the real Muslims are ? Or are Christians the only ones who get the benefit of her sneering arrogance ?
All of this is, of course, par for the course in the Land of the L3 [Loony, Left Liberals]. Except, that's not where we are. Hatred of Christianity together with hysterical attempts to label the victims of that prejudice as the guilty party certainly looks like Liberalism, but no, Buckinghamshire is a Conservative council. That's why this incident sums up better than Shakespeare could what's really wrong with the Conservative Party.
For conniving hacks like Dewar, their Conservatism is a pose, a tactical manoeuvre. Espousing Conservatism is the price of entry into the political class. If you could get elected by coming out in favour of cannibalism, Dewar would naming libraries after Jeffery Dahlmer. But, once they've got their feet under the table, there's never any doubt about which way they go in a clash between Conservative principles and the Liberal establishment. They won't risk missing out on cocktail party invites, and besides, a demo by the local branch of the SWP would really cut into golfing time. This is why many Conservatives, including myself, wouldn't join the Party in a million years. We've got better things to do with our time and money than help secure jobs for timeserving Tories-In-Name-Only like Dewar.
Now, as a real Conservative, I certainly agree Dewar and her fellow scum should be free to advance anti-Christian bigotry to their heart's content. What I disagree with is their attempt to pass it off as in any way Conservative. I return to the point I made above. This is a case of outright prejudice. If it happened the other way round, then there would be no hesitation in giving Dewar a hotseat ejection. Why should anyone hesitate this time ?
Sure, the Guardian, the BBC and other associated members of the non-thinking classes will rant and rave. Let them - nothing will help the Conservative Party more than hearing Liberals explain at great length why members of the established, majority religion of this country should be openly discriminated against. It'll help put clear blue water between left and right, with the Conservative Party as the only one which is prepared to say that bigotry is still bigotry however you dress it up. They should be proud to say these people have no place in their party.
Saturday, December 13, 2003
lgf takes on the European Constitution:
DRAFT EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION
We the intellectuals of the European Union, in order to create a more docile bourgeois, establish subsidies, insure domestic rail service, provide for the general Moroccan immigrant community, promote the regional autogyro industry, and secure comfortable holiday accommodations in Ibiza for ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the European Union.
Much more by following the link.
Proof positive that the world has gone mad:
The country's only independent lifeboat station has been told it cannot have National Lottery funds because it does not serve "disadvantaged" people in the community.
The 2,000-plus souls plucked from the sea in the 158-year history of the Caister lifeboat do not, apparently, qualify as disadvantaged under the criteria governing disbursement of lottery grants by the Community Fund.
No doubt they would've got funding if they'd claimed only to rescue blind, lesbian asylum seekers.
Saturday's on-line edition of the Telegraph includes what is either an ironic coincidence or a brilliant side-swipe at the scientific establishment.
In one column there's this story: "TV drama on MMR 'could cost lives' " Yes, indeed. The Labocrats have turned the Rant-o-matic up to 11 because Five has dared to air a show putting forward views with which they disagree... like, y'know, they were an independent media organization instead of the Kool-Aid drinking drones who masquerade as science journos in most of the media. The guardians of truth and logic are in a fearful bate because their hysterical denunciations of anyone who suggests MMR may not be safer than a six week-old kitten have not entirely closed down the debate.
So far, so predictable. But, in the other column - virtually next door in fact - there's this story: "In the rush to protect children, 'experts' use junk science to accuse innocent parents "
Maybe we ought to think before letting Big Science take us to see any puppies, after all.
First there was Sally Clark, then Trupti Patel, and now Angela Cannings.
Three women wrongly accused of serial infanticide - one of the most horrendous crimes imaginable.
Each prosecution relied on evidence from Sir Roy Meadow, Britain's leading cot-death expert who decided that, on the balance of probability, these mothers had murdered their children.
Yet, according to a growing body of concerned lawyers, doctors and parents, these are not isolated cases but symptomatic of a legal and medical system so determined to protect children that it fails to protect the innocent.
And it ain't just cot death:
Three further diagnoses - shaken baby syndrome, Munchausen Syndrome by proxy and recovered memories - account for hundreds of other wrongful convictions of innocent parents over the last two decades.
Plus, the Telegraph hit's the spot with it's diagnosis of where it's all gone wrong:
What they all have in common is that they are based on flawed opinions rather than forensic evidence. Too many doctors still embrace pseudo explanations for things they do not really understand.
There is no obvious medical reason why Sally Clark and Angela Cannings should have lost more than one child: therefore they must have smothered them.
This boy's injuries seemed too serious to have resulted, as the parents insist, from a minor fall: therefore he must have been shaken violently.
There is no clear reason why this teenage girl is suffering from anorexia: she must have been sexually abused by her father.
Exactly. The scientific community - including, no doubt, the panjandrums quoted in the first article - normally need no prompting to rant about 'junk science'. Well, here's some real junk science. Let's see what the scientific establishment said about this:
[The wind whistles.... crickets chirp... far off in the distance a train's whistle can be heard]
Sure, there may have been lone dissenters, but the community as a whole - and the top brass certainly - never chained themselves to any railings to protest the destruction of families on bogus grounds. If you wanted to design an experiment to disprove the efficiency of self-regulation, this is the type of thing you'd do. These people claim to revere logic above all else, so here's a logical conclusion for them:
SELF-REGULATION DOES NOT WORK
That's why the debate about MMR is important - vital even. The scientific establishment is profoundly anti-democratic. To the average scientist, democracy is a chimp's tea party. Not for nothing are their propaganda efforts carried out under the banner of promoting 'Public Understanding of Science'. 'Implicit' is hardly a strong enough word for the suggestion that opposition to their aims can only be the result of ignorance. On the other hand, 'sleazy' does rather well for the suggestion that opposition to the doctrine and worldview of the scientific establishment is the same as opposition to science itself. The MMR debate is no longer about vaccination, disease or autism, it is about the nature of democracy.
The safety of MMR is a scientific matter, but much else in this debate is not. You don't need to understand X-ray crystallography to see that there's something suspicious about the way those opposed to the party line seem to lose their funding in mysterious circumstances. Likewise, you don't need to know anything about DNA to be appalled at the nobbling of clinics supplying the single vaccine. There may be nothing suspicious going on, but you have to ask: if there was a cover-up in progress how would things be different ?
The scientoids may claim to be innocent of any involvement in dirty tricks but, as with the examples of junk science above, none of them have felt obliged to speak out against them either.
The scientific establishment has made it views clear on MMR ('Shut Up!' they shouted) but the public is unconvinced. Scientists claim the public is acting irrationally - but what kind of science are they promoting ? What sort of science relies on suppressing debate, ranting about opponents and sneering at Joe Public ? Are we supposed to be impressed that British science's Politburo, people whose entire social position is dependent on keeping the gravy train on the rails, parrot the Party line as one ?
Well, actually no, we aren't supposed to be impressed. That's the point. The sheer obnoxiousness of the Cult of Science in dealing with this, after all relatively obscure, matter is the thing. It's an experiment. MMR has no intrinsic value, it's a pure test of our collective will. Can they get away with sticking two fingers up to the public, to the rule of law, to democracy itself ? Will we say 'Urrrrgh...it all sounds too hard', stick our head in the sand and let the Labocracy go about their business of bringing about the Brave New World free of any restraint ? Or will we meet them head to head with full force and cash a reality check for them ?
You think that's harsh ? Consider this: the whole MMR debate started when it was hypothesized that a vaccine caused young children to develop hideous mental problems. Who wouldn't be concerned about that ? Yet the scientific communities response has, from the first, been a sneering, contemptuous dismissal of the families concerns. This, is the true face of the British scientific collective. Sneering, arrogant, fanatics. They condemn themselves each time they open their mouths.