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May, 2012:

Drones & stuff…

This is my response to Single Acts of Tyranny.

Nick and RAB

I wasn’t really talking about historical battles like Lepanto, Famagusta, the always forgotten battle of Tours, forgotten by people moaning about the crusades I mean, (predating the first crusade by some 350 years). By the standards of today you could argue Henry V at Agincourt was a war criminal, (I don’t, but you get the point). Nor am I saying some of the Muslims and Ottomans behaved properly, clearly they did not on many ocassions.

The Battle of Tours is not forgotten round here. Charles Martel played a blinder there. It is generally regarded as macrohistorical. I think it was Gibbon who said something like the Divinity School at Oxford would be be demonstrating the truth of the revelations of Muhammad to a circumcised people or some such if Martel had lost. It is also pretty much the first occasion when infantry stood against heavy cavalry. By any stretch Henry V was by modern standards a war criminal. But he was English so that’s OK. And the French did dreadful things. They still do. And considering the number of times we’ve since dug them out of a hole – fuck ‘em. There are some cause not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian Grenadier and the French are certainly one.

One of the reasons I find military history so fascinating is the essential tension between “great forces” and individuals. For example read up on the Battle of Midway. Of course the USA was going to Godzilla Japan but that specific battle hinged on individuals. And the thing is I saw an interview with a US dive-bomber pilot. Eighteen planes in his squadron took off. He hit a Japanese carrier and sunk it (the Japanese like the US didn’t have armoured decks) and every other plane in his squadron was shot down. Things hinge. Then there is the tactical genius of Chester Nimitz. But don’t take my word for it. They named an entire class of the mightiest warships ever built after him.

I also wasn’t talking about Israeli air combat with Syria (1982?). I was talking in fact about Western, notably American policy to kill people because you, want to via drone strikes.

This gets technical. Ultimately by and large most of the people killed by drones are utter scum. Now, don’t get me wrong here. I am by nature a Republican but of the Clint Eastwood or Gary Johnson school (to the extent that matters me being English and all). I actually personally find the US Elephants grotesque in their rejection of the libertarian wing of the Republican Party in favour of loons like Rick Perry or non-entities like Mitt Romney (but doesn’t he have nice hair!). Yes, Israel had a war in ’82 with Syria and utterly cained them in the air (100-0?). But I also meant earlier and later conflicts where Israel also cained them. But as to the Arab/Israeli schtick the stormer was the Six Day War where Israel bet every fighter jet they had on decking Egypt and Syria and won. I have nothing but praise for that. That was something else.

Many, even in the intelligence community are concerned about this policy, particularly the so-called top 20 because when you off say the number one target, number 21 joins the top 20 and becomes a ‘priority’ target. It’s never ending, though this maybe the crypto-agenda of course.

It might be just that. We here talk of “exit strategies” but never “winning strategies”. This is a cockamamie war. Now call me cynical but I suspect the fundamental issue here is the Khazi not being hung by his bollocks from a lamp-post within the space of an electoral cycle.

Like Ron Paul, I think such a policy has significant blowback and a major rethink is required because the neo-con foreign policy has landed us in two major wars and a number of regional scraps, delivered security theatre at home, cost enormous amounts of money and death of our troops, radicalised some rather dumb sections of our community, reintroduced and legitimised torture (which we never used against even Nazis, surely a far, far greater threat) but delivered little enough for us to question the very parameters we set.

OK. What is the neo-con policy? I worry it is war everlasting. If there is “blowback”. it ain’t drones (unless people are being deliberately obtuse) but torture and Gitmo and detention without trial… The objection to drone strikes is silly. Drones are used they are cheap (relatively) to buy and deploy and they have a long time on station. Objections are basically variants of Pilgerism based on the fact they don’t put pilots in jeopardy. Oddly enough the lack of a “sit in pilot” is entirely by the by. Drones are used because of their endurance and cheapness. Not out of “cowardice” which is the real reason people object to drones isn’t it? To quote General George Patton, “You don’t win a war by dying for your country, you win a war by making the other poor bastard die for his”. Essentially people object to drone attacks because at some level they feel them “unsporting”. War isn’t sport. Sport is sport. I hate, I utterly despise, pseudo-military metaphor applied to sport. Last year I visited the battlefields of Gallipoli. That wasn’t won or lost on the playing fields of Eton. That was bloody awful and a game of Rugby just isn’t. Essentially if you can fight a war and keep your folk out of harm’s way because you have General Atomics (cool name – sounds like something from the “Jettsons”!) building Reaper drones and the baddies think flip-flops and an AK-47 are the height of style then so be it and let them be blown to smithereens by a “pilot” working out of CentCom in Florida. It’s like this. Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle during the First World War campaigned for body armour for British troops. He was dismissed by the War Department for advocating cowardice. Bravery has it’s place on the battlefield. Pointless sacrifice doesn’t. It is the deranged romanticism of the Highland charge. Now that came unstuck against the Duke of Cumberland’s trained bayonets didn’t it? In war winning is everything. All else is losing.

Crimes of Moral Turpitude.

I have been to USA several times. I like Americans. I don’t like American government. Now I thought nothing came close to the sheer mendacity of the UK’s Home Office and it’s immigration and nationality directorate. But I looked something up last night. You see as a UK citizen I don’t need a visa to enter the USA. I fill in a visa waiver form which asks bizarre questions like, “Did you work for the government of Germany between 1933 and 1945″. Who actually freely admits to being a NAZI war criminal? But the one that always got me was “crimes of moral turpitude”. They sound fun.

Wikipedia has a list of things you can be denied entry to the USA over. It is staggeringly long. Here are some of the highlights and trust me you will have done something on the list. Or indeed even accused of it.

Rape (including “Statutory rape” by virtue of the victim’s age)

Would that make you guilty because the age of consent in the USA is considerably higher than in most everywhere? Personally I find the US concept of statutory rape vile. At a house party in the USA a few years back the captain of the football team gets a blow-job from the chief cheerleader and he gets 10 years in chokey because she’s like a year younger. There was no hint of coercion and she was 16. Get a grip USA!

I haven’t done that one but I bet a few readers are technically guilty. I would have been if I had half the chance.

Possessing burglar tools (without intent to commit burglary)

Not actually a crime of Moral Turpitude but enough to have you barred. But correct me if I am wrong. Isn’t the USA supposed to run on Common Law so Mens Rea does matter. Earlier this week we had a plumber round and he had a piratical selection of tools. He is technically guilty. That he only used them to replace a sink and work on a gas-fire would be no defense because that looks strict liability to me. Christ almighty I carry tools that can do lethal harm but if you want me to take the side of your computer to see what’s wrong with it you are going to have to trust me not to smite you under the fifth rib. I suspect that is the liver and the application of the jawbone of an ass to that area probs causes massive blood loss and generally death in short order. And what about locksmiths?

I very rarely carry the jawbone of an ass. A set of posidrives is generally more useful.

But this is storming…

Taking part in a conspiracy (or attempting to take part in a conspiracy) to commit a crime involving moral turpitude where the attempted crime would not itself constitute moral turpitude.

That is unbelievably vague. Just read it again. That could be anything from jay-walking to sending the prime minister of Canada a human foot in the post. What precisely is “attempting to take part in a conspiracy” anyway? Is it a crime to be really bad at attempting to conspire?

I love the USA but only after you get out of the airport and like meet pukka Americans. I mean if they genuinely imposed those laws with no fear or favour Congress would be lead to Dulles under armed guard and Bill Clinton would be doing 4-figures of jail time. And I mean years there. But laws are only for the little people.

Do as I say for I am the heavenly Buddha

…or alternatively, no, you’re really not.  I’ve little time for those who assume the moral high ground on pressing issues of the day, because all too often, they themselves are hideously compromised.

 

And so we come to the head of the IMF, the redoubtable Christine Lagarde.  Now you might imagine that if you succeeded the highly unorthodox Dominique Strauss-Kahn, you might make sure your personal and professional life is spotless, especially if you decide to proselytise in that area. 

 

Just a reminder, Mr Strauss-Kahn, a former member of the union of communist students and IMF boss, decided that leaving your ‘DNA’ all over a hotel maid was tickety-boo.  There were also not one but two financial scandals in 1999 and in 2008 another man’s wife was fair game, but hey, make her redundant.  Let’s not forget the ‘judgement’ that says when a young and beautiful woman agrees to have immediate, anonymous, no-strings sex with a paunchy 63-year old, well, how could you possibly know she was a hooker?

 

So whilst Christine did not have a great act to follow, you might just cast an eye to your own conduct before questioning the behaviour of others.  Lagarde has her own 2011 financial issues according to a French court, but that’s no hurdle to the world’s top financial job.   

 

But if it was me, I might just make sure my own financial house was in order before I started nagging the Greeks to pay their taxes.  Why? Because Lagarde, on her salary of $540K a year pays a tax rate of, er, zero.  Yep, she keeps the lot. 

 

And this is why the whole stinking, rotten edifice that tells us to loan money to obvious bad debtors is vile and pointless and we should withdraw.   

 

  

Beyond Our Ken…

Well there I was outside Ronnie Scott’s Club the other night having a quick fag or two in the interval, when this piggy eyed shortarse in blue suede shoes came out and joined me, and lit up a cigar.

We eyed each other for a minute or two, then he said… I say, aren’t  you that RAB chap the critic?

Er yes I replied, and aren’t you Lord Clarke of West Bridgford, and our  less than esteemed Minister of Justice?

Shhh not yet! It’s in the pipeline, and god knows this Govt can’t last much longer, I’m making sure of it! Nice safe bolthole for me in the Lords, I’m too old for Europe more’s the pity, have you seen their pensions? Neil Kinnock’s makes me green with envy!

Well now you mention Europe Minister, how do you explain this?

Oh easy dear boy (in his finest patronising and condescending  voice… I will say this one more time slowly for the hard of understanding drone) This country is finished. All the countries in Europe are finished. The only hope is a United States of Europe. Then it will be sunny uplands for all. Just like an extended Coltrane solo for evermore!

But Minister, not all of us who like Jazz, like extended Coltrane solos, especially the ones towards the end of his life when he was completely and utterly bonkers. Don’t you think that the EU Project is now completely and utterly bonkers too? It has put the roof on the building before digging the foundations and constructing the walls.

Oh utter tosh dear boy! It’s as sound as a Pound.. Er  Euro!! We will join in the end, it’s inevitable!!!

But were you not once a Conservative? Someone who believes in National Sovereignty, and self Governance? That our Law, the Great Common Law of England, Magna Carta and all that,  that spread around the world ? And was adopted by all of our former colonies because it was good and just and the best way to form a national identity, that was fair and free?

God god no! I have never been a Conservative! I have just played lip service to it all my life. You have heard of the Cambridge 5? Well I was number six! Just a route to power old boy! I love the EU and dream of a United States Of Europe. Me and Heseltine both. 5th columnists all along! That’s why we knifed Maggie in the back when we did. She won a war, she won a rebate from the blessed EU and we could tolerate her no longer. Christ she might have won the next election! We couldn’t have that!! More free thinking self motivating people without the great and good’s guiding hand? Good God no! she had to go! I was first in to tell her to go after she hadn’t won outright on the first ballot. And fair enough to her, she was educated for a woman… She didn’t say Et Tu Brutus? to me but Vos Primoris Ken? She got that right alright!

So where do you see us going on from here Minister? With no Democracy or representation worth the meaning of the words in this sunny uplands of the United States of Europe?

We’ll see it all come good in the end my friend, mark my words!

So we stubbed out our smokes and chucked them in the gutter, proceeded to go back into Ronnies, when we were pounced on by the Smoke and litter police who fined us £75 each for littering and smoking in a prohibited place(EU directive).

I paid up, but the last I heard from Ken, as he was led away, was… Do you know who I am!! No! I only carry Euros….

UPDATE:
90% of Telegraph readers voted for a Referendum. Silly and mad? who you or us? Ken?

Drop the Pilot

 

You may have seen the government’s latest pointless distraction in the form of the Portas pilot towns, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18212669  In essence, various towns bid for the princely sum of one hundred grand to rejuvenate their town centre in some way.  Now as ever, when the government is chucking around free money, there are plenty of people saying yes please, but this latest idea is nonsense on stilts.

 

First, the whole basis for this is deeply flawed.  Portas in her initial report didn’t worry too much about the crushing levels of uniform business rates shops are forced to pay for the privilege of opening for business.  A small outlet in a mall in sunny Basingstoke will cost you £50 grand a year rates.  That’s not a misprint.  Tony Soprano can only envy the government in this regard.  Really, if you want to ‘rejuvenate the high street’ abolish UBR, you would be surprised how effective this could be.

 

Second, why does anyone want to force people back into town centres.  Shoppers that have money to spend seem to prefer out of town centres, supermarkets or any number of alternatives, people have voted with their feet, why is this even an objective of policy. 

 

Last and least are the idiotic uses to which this money is to be put.  Wolverhampton seem to think (and presumably the government agree as they have been awarded the cash) that a town crier (sic) is what will have people coming back to town in droves; Nelson like the idea of a youth café.  Yep, encourage young people without much disposable income to hang around, that’s bound to bring back the oldies; Dartford town council seem to think they know more about running shops than actual shopkeepers whilst Liskeard seem to think the answer lies with guerrilla gardening whatever that maybe. 

 

Everything that is wrong with government is here.  Forced appropriation of the cash in the first place, then giving a tiny amount back and giving it not to the businesses themselves but to the ever-wise local councils.  Then there is council rent-seeking and more localised versions of the same as guerrilla gardeners compete with town criers for government largesse.

 

Joan Armatrading had it right. 

 

 

Jessica Ennis is fat.

This is Jessica Ennis…

Obviously, I think you will all agree she is a right bloater. Unlike this kid, obviously, for whom a trip to hospital required structural engineering…

My personal take is, well, personal. Last night, after my wife had gone to sleep I watched Springer and he had two lasses fighting over a bloke (obviously a no-good-nic: I only slept with your sister because…) and one was very skinny and missing teeth and roughly twenty years older than her birth certificate suggested as you’d expect crystal-meth to do to someone and the other was grotesquely fat. The chunkster stripped to her bra (made by Zeppelin) and her panties (Harland and Wolff) and Jerry looked ashamed for once. And well, so he should. The spectacle was seismic. Now I like curves on a woman as much as the next man but there is curves and there is tectonics. Now I am not casting nasturtiums or anything but this “lady” ought never to be allowed anywhere near Japanese nuclear stations.

So, I guess, World-class dreadfulness. But back to Ms Ennis. Who precisely released this nonce? Last weekend I watched in Manchester the female pole-vault. Now obviously athletes look athletic. These did. They were World Class and all. I am glad I saw that because I’ve always thought it about the most deranged thing imaginable. I mean how do you start to pole-vault?

I suspect it is obscurely related to US birtherism over Obama. In much the same way Obama supporters saw last time around that birtherism hit the Republicans harder (by showing-up they had a stock of mentalists and it utterly detracted from the real issues) Ennis supporters are doing the same thing. I know. I know.

But is the victory of Jessica Ennis less important than that of Mitt Romney? Not to me it isn’t (though I know who I’d rather shag – and no Mitt it really isn’t you). The footie season is over so the hell with it all! Well, there is the European Cup in Poland and the Ukraine. Wayne Rooney is visiting Auschwitz so what could possibly go wrong? But stuff that! If Roy Hodgson gets us out of the group stage I shall eat underwear. Obviously not the underwear of the lass the paramedics had to demolish a house to get at. That would be above and beyond. I mean you could bring a C-130 to a prompt stop with her gusset.

Manchester 10km

On Sunday my wife completed the Manchester 10km run. I saw her off at the start and mooched around town carrying her bag of stuff. Alas the finish line wasn’t really an option for me because we were already utterly confused by the maps (despite knowing Manchester well) and we wisely decided to meet in a pub rather than at the end because judging by the start it was chaotic and way too packed (and when your wife is 5’1″ it is tricky especially amongst the costumes and general hullabaloo – I also figured it would be very difficult to infiltrate myself into a place to get a good photo). It’s a huge event these days and when we got home we watched the recording of it from the BBC. The likes of Brendan Foster was wittering on (he is World Class at wittering on in much the same way Alan Hansen is World Class at doom-mongering) about how it gets bigger every year. I honestly don’t see how it could get any bigger without changing the route (well the start and end anyway) dramatically.

So I looked around a couple of bookshops (why is it I can always find a really cool book for 50p in Empire Exchange or nothing?) and was accosted outside a hotel in Piccadilly by a middle-aged woman with a clipboard who asked me, “Do you like porridge?”*. I said, “No”. She said, “Oh, that’s OK then.” and turned away. I completely forgot to buy a couple of specific things (like an HDMI cable – I really ought to get that via my usual supplier – Aria Tech anyway) so I bought a Sun and went to the pub we’d selected as a rendezvous. It was The Moon Under Water**, Deansgate. Not somewhere I’d normally go but it was big enough and town was very busy. I got a bottle of Baltika (yeah, in a Wetherspoons! It’s not bad. It was a better option than their other ‘exotic’ which was Efes from Turkey – it’s very like certain abysmal American ‘beers’. I am well aware they make excellent beers in the USA but they just don’t sell ‘em here) and flicked through the paper for that was worth.

Soon enough, Lizzy appeared looking radiant (I suspect I would have looked not so much as the walking but the crawling dead) with a finisher’s goodie-bag. She even got a medal! She was well chuffed. I was really proud of her because she only took up jogging quite recently and she was one of those many, many people who hated the enforced physical jerks of school PE lessons and especially the grim route march which was the cross-country run. I have long suspected school PE lessons do vastly more harm than good. The number of people I have known who have hated the grim ordeal of school PE who later found they enjoyed the sport of their own choosing is enormous (me for starters! – badminton, five-a-side and rounders oddly enough). Indeed on the way back to the station we watched a bit of the women’s pole-vaulting. This included, apart from some veritable Valkyries, Britain’s best hope in this event for 2012. I’d seen her on the telly-box earlier and she got into it not so long ago due to a “have a go” day at her local athletics club.

Lizzy started in the pink wave (the final one – like I said she’d never done anything like this before so was being cautious) and it was set-off by Haile Gebrselassie who had run the elite race in a time not dissimilar to what it takes for me to amble down to the ATM and then the local convenience store, buy a Coke and some Monster Munch and exchange pleasantries with Sayeed then amble back and see what is being shown on ITV3 (probably Poirot). The great man had had time to come round and start Lizzy’s wave and the one before that… That was kinda cool.

What was cooler was Lizzy really enjoyed it and I can see now why they call them “fun runs” (most of my previous experience of running had best be filed under “scarpering”). She said she felt really good afterwards and that she could have done better if she’d started in the wave ahead – which had fewer people dressed as lions or deep-sea divers etc. The loneliness of the long-distance running widower beckons!

She told me one thing in particular that amused me greatly. The course swung past Old Trafford. The blurb beforehand had mentioned the lounge there was an ideal place to watch from. Well more than a few runners, as they passed by, started a chorus of “Blue Moon”. Tickled me that did. I guess the race stewards round there had to have nets on poles to catch Sir Alex’s flying monkeys.

So now for some pictures. This is before the the start…

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This is the start (almost)…

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… And this is afterwards…

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Sorry no finishing-line piccies. We were waiting on the official ones (which is why this post is somewhat belated) but they turned out to be poor so you are stuck with what I managed to get.

All of this brings me to my ultimate point. Lizzy ran for the charity Animals Asia and I posted about her run a while back asking for sponsorship. Well, those of you who gave deserve to know how it all turned out and I am glad to tell you how it turned out and thank you all again for your kindness. Moreover I’d like to thank you all for something else I hinted at above. Lizzy ran not just for the bears but herself and knowing you were backing her must have helped her running and that matters for it’s own sake – moon bears or not. As I said I’m very proud of her. Her school PE teachers would be astonished but then a good cause, personal motivation and knowing good people have pledged money matters so much more than the rote nonsense of National Curriculum physical jerks and the petty sadism of PE teachers.

Now, for all you sports fans out there here are the results…

Lizzy finished 25,013 out of 40,000+ in a time of 1 hour 13 minutes.

I reckon that is pretty good for a first-timer starting in the final – slowest – wave. Some of those were “teams” running together in silly outfits and therefore difficult to get past.

Thank all of you for supporting her. It meant a lot to Lizzy. It means a lot to the bears (and the cats and dogs) and it means a lot to me.

Oh, and Lizzy is well on course to exceed not only the 10km but her fund-raising target of £415 – the cost of gall-bladder surgery for a rescued bear “milked” for it’s bile in the most horrendous conditions.

Anyway, it’s not too late to give (and that total is just via that site – there has also been cash – and it is a pukka charity in case you are concerned on that score).

Otherwise you could always even adopt a bear. Lizzy did and the bear is called January and don’t worry the bear will live in China or Vietnam – you won’t have DHL deliver a big box full of growls. I was iffy at first. I mean we’ve got a big garden but the cat (His Feline Majesty) would have kittens and seeing as Timmy is a neutered male that would make zoological history.

We can change things but we have to think small scale. We can’t change everything nor should we even attempt it but if all of us who care try to change one specific, targeted, achievable thing we as a civilization can do wonders.

So thanks to all of you! Lizzy was brilliant. So were you.

*Same hotel I was once accosted at and made a fiver for answering some questions. I was quizzed over the cover design for the DVD of the “Incredible Hulk” movie. A movie I had not seen and had no desire to buy the DVD of.
**Yes, I am aware of the bitter irony of that name for a chain-run mega-pub. It’s almost Orwellian…

Power to the People!

Last year I brought you all a couple of items about the anti Tesco riots in Stokes Croft Bristol. These were, in this Olympic year of ours, the pre-lims, the qualifiers if you like, for the main events that kicked off in London and elsewhere later in the year. It worked in Bristol, It’ll work here, evil little scotes of all persuasions thought, and they were right.

Ostensibly the riots and protests were against the nasty filthy capitalists Tesco who would destroy the very fabric and character of a struggling but noble neighbourhood. In fact the neighbourhood has been a broken toothed affront to the City Of Bristol since the sixties or even longer. Full of winos and junkies and ladies who were no better than they aught to be, offering their company for a bag of chips and a swig of Scrumpy. And when the Anarcho Hippies turned up and squatted the place in the 80s, it just got worse.

When our Paul Marks came to stay with me for a few days last year, he was shocked at the state of the road (and he lives in Northampton! not a reasonably elegant place of wealth and taste that Bristol promotes itself as being), I had barely noticed after all the time I have lived here. Well you get used to shit around you don’t you? It just doesn’t register after a while.

Ah but the opposition to Tesco wasn’t just negative, it was …like dig them positive vibes man! we can do it just like they can, but cheaper and sustainable and… Heh de heh, no they couldn’t.

“A ‘people’s supermarket’ set up in Stokes Croft as an alternative to the controversial Tesco store is to close down after organisers admitted they could not compete.”

My parents owned a corner shop/general stores just as the original supermarkets were taking off in the early sixties. We couldn’t compete on price, so we made a bloody good living on listening to our customers wants and needs and , and innovation. These clowns were probably debating whether fish fingers were, like ethical man…

Go read and laugh. Capitalism and common sense rules ok!

Quote of the Day

I have no desire to end up living like Geert Wilders or Kurt Westergaard, never mind dead as Fortuyn and van Gogh. But I also wish to live in truth, as a free man, and I do not like the shriveled vision of freedom offered by the Dutch Openbaar Ministrie, the British immigration authorities, the Austrian courts, Canada’s “human rights” tribunals, and the other useful idiots of Islamic imperialism. So it is necessary for more of us to do what Ayaan Hirsi Ali recommends: share the risk. So that the next time a novel or a cartoon provokes a fatwa, it will be republished worldwide and send the Islamic enforcers a message: Killing one of us won’t do it. You’d better have a great credit line at the Bank of Jihad because you’ll have to kill us all.

Mark Steyn – From the foreword to Geert Wilders’ Marked for Death

Is it worth voting?

A great many people who would class themselves as libertarians, anarcho-capitalists, voluntaryists etc think not. On the face of it they have a point. The established parties are more or less agreed on the political settlement. This is state-run health and education, fiat currency, central banking and deficit finance, EU membership, optional foreign wars, ponderous security theatre, serious restrictions on civil rights such as free speech, the right to silence, double-jeopardy, nannying on pretty much anything you can shake a stick at. In short the leviathan state. Voting for any of the major parties changes nothing, so on the face of it, the “don’t bother voting” lobby has a point.

I didn’t bother in the local elections, being confronted with three candidates from the parties, none of whom even dropped in a leaflet. Some of the turn-outs dropped below 20%

But let us not imagine that the political class will have some moment of self-awareness. They won’t wake up one morning and think ‘my God, we have lost the confidence of the people, let’s all resign’ Sure we have the usual post-election night dross about making voting easier (or compulsory!) but they don’t care how few people vote for ‘em as long as the state gravy train rolls on and the cops can be relied upon to enforce ever-more stupid laws.

So, if I may propose the first principle ~ almost no-one gives up power voluntarily, they have to be kicked out.

Then we have the argument that libertarians never win at the polls so why bother? Well prior to 1863 no-one believed the Southern States would end slavery, then one day Lincoln got all proclamation happy and did it. Sure it was opportunism, sure it meant nothing immediately, but there it was. Just because something has never been done, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. To say otherwise is a counsel of despair.

Then there are those who say ‘live free, raise your kids right and all will be well in the end’ This is half right. Of course practice the non-aggression principle against your kids and raise them right, but there will be many who don’t and they are either tomorrow’s unaware tax cattle or tomorrow political class. Again, these people won’t fade away. And really, how free are you living while still living in a statist paradigm?

So our leaders have to be kicked out. I presume it is unnecessary to say that as libertarians who practice the non-aggression principle, we reject a violent solution, I certainly do, so no bricks or bombs or anything else.

So it has to be political action for me. I would be most interested in everyone’s view on this, so please do share in the comments. I will come on to the options for political action in the next few days, again seeking comments.

Take less poison say smart people

 Well first let me introduce myself.  My name is Stuart Fairney and I shall post as Single acts of tyranny.  This is from the quote by Thomas Jefferson when he said “Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing a people to slavery”  It is in no way an attempt to plug Amazon’s 584,000th most popular book.  So to the title of the post……

 

No this isn’t some more government health-nannying complaining that the indolent plebs are boozing or smoking or eating the wrong food or not exercising or using cars etc etc ad nauseum.

 

Nor is it the Daily Mash, it is in effect the pronouncement from the 2020 Tax Commission (http://www.2020tax.org/2020summary.pdf).  The commission is the love child of the institute of directors and the taxpayers’ alliance and on the face of it, the proposals seem more or less unarguable.  They include a single rate of income tax of 30% replacing the ponderous income tax and NI systems, the total abolition of transaction and inheritance taxes cutting state spending to a third of GDP and a raft of other changes which would boost freedom and economic growth.  So far so good and I don’t know many people who would disagree in principle at least with the concept. 

 

However there are two problems, first implementation.  These ideas are a million miles away from all three front benches at the moment.  The three parties have run aground on the rocks of leftist social democracy and I honestly think some of them actually believe that the leviathan state is a force for good.  Also less tax means less power, influence and relevance for politicians, less help for rent-seekers, fewer kickbacks, they might even mean less politicians.  Also the vast army of pointless tree officers, gender-equality outreach workers, climate-change champions, diversity officers etc may see the writing on the wall and may not fancy getting a real job much, so few votes there.

 

But on a more philosophical level, why fix on 30%?  If taxes are poison to the economy surely the lower the better.  Why not 20%?  Singapore has a maximum income tax of 20% (itself pretty easy to avoid) and a sales tax at 7%.  This is coupled with growth at a best-in-the world 17.9% and unemployment at 2.2%.  When did your hear any public figure in the West even aspiring to figures like these let alone getting anywhere near them?  By slashing the state and along with it taxes, regulations and the whole shebang, you could turn the UK (or even Greece) into the Singapore of the West.  Indeed, by having lower taxes than even some of the Asian economies we could gain more liberty and become far richer. 

 

All we need is the consent of our feudal overlords.        

Those Blameless Greeks

So… we’re still doing this, then? Okay…

The Mail on Sunday has a poll about the Greek crisis. Turns out 50% of Brits blame those evil bankers.

So the Greek government has spent money like it was going out of style for decades and now that the well has run dry, it’s the well’s fault? 11% of the Mail’s respondents blame the government, but hold on… you can’t wax lyrical about “the cradle of democracy” then turn round and blame someone else when the moussaka hits the fan. Who voted for successive profligate governments, year after year? Who told the Greek government to borrow more money than it could afford to pay back in order that they might have paid public holidays, Olympic Gameses, and Christ knows what all else?

4% of respondents blame the Greek people. Poor lambs. They never had any say in the matter at all. And it’s not as if they don’t pay those taxes they voted themselves.

Now, full disclosure: no, I don’t like “democracy”. That is to say, I don’t like calling electoral government “democracy”, because it ain’t. Electoral government is not the be-all and end-all of accountability, as I’ve said before. Plus, the bigger it gets the less accountable it is. And boy, is the Greek government ever big. But they could have voted for small-government, fiscally-responsible, liberals who would have tried to change that (reducing the tax evasion problem into the bargain, as per Laffer). They, in general, didn’t.

And still don’t. Νέα Δημοκρατία calls itself a “modern and progressive right-wing party” whose ideology is “the prevalence of free market rules with the decisive intervention of the state in favour of social justice”. EuroDave would be right at home. And even it couldn’t form a government. The Anticapitalist Left Co-operation for the Overthrow – seriously, that’s what they call themselves – got almost as many votes. The classical Liberal Alliance polled around 1%.

Counting Cats may have pulled through its recent crisis, more or less, but Greece is screwed. Screwed, I tells ya. As are we Brits if that’s our reaction to it all.

Sunday Night Rock Classic

A tribute, presented with consideration and respect for the late, and the great….

Frack U-Turn

It has now been confirmed, not that there was much doubt, that our governing effete are collectively and clinically insane.

The Government has rejected shale gas technology as a solution to Britain’s energy crisis, conceding it will do little to cut bills or keep the lights on.

Rejected shale gas technology? Rejected reality more like.

Supporters of the fracking technology – which blasts water, sand and chemicals at extreme pressures to release gas trapped deep in rock – argue it could be the single greatest factor in transforming Britain’s energy market, reducing our reliance on foreign imports and dramatically reducing costs.

Well it hasn’t done the US much harm has it? The Yanks are awash in the stuff.

But The Independent on Sunday has learned that industry experts made clear at a meeting attended by senior ministers, including David Cameron and Ed Davey, the Lib Dem energy secretary, that the UK’s reserves were smaller than first thought and could be uneconomical to extract.

Industry experts? What industry and which experts? Bishop Hill is wondering the same thing. As for “uneconomical to extract” why should the government care? Shale gas exploration and drilling is done by the private sector. The investment comes from the private sector. It doesn’t cost the taxpayer a penny unlike the highly subsidised renewables that are wrecking our energy security and economy.

Now senior coalition figures have agreed that shale gas has the potential to be deeply controversial without securing major benefits in lowering carbon emissions or reducing energy costs.

Controversial? How’s this for controversial! The bold highlights are mine.

Edward Davey (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs), Business, Innovation and Skills; Kingston and Surbiton, Liberal Democrat): The Government are committed to reducing domestic energy bills, and have put energy efficiency at the heart of their energy policy. The green deal will drive the take-up of energy efficiency measures in homes, helping to reduce energy bills. In addition, the roll-out of smart meters will further reduce energy use. Vulnerable customers will also benefit from the warm home discount, which is worth £1.1 billion over four years.

And there you have it. Government energy policy in a nutshell. They are going to reduce energy bills by increasing them. Control supply and hike up the price of domestic energy so people can’t afford to use it. Problem solved. The bastards are doing the same thing with water.

The revelation, ahead of the publication this week of major reforms of the energy market, will be welcomed by green campaigners who have been deeply opposed to clearing the way for a new generation of gas power plants, and voiced serious concerns about the environmental impact, including the potential for fracking to trigger earthquakes and contaminate water supplies.

Green campaigners? Like the cretinous eco-loons who authored the Living Planet Report? Like the anti-science, people hating propagandists responsible for Gasland? Like this lying sack of cow slurry?

Joss Garman, from Greenpeace, said: The shale gas bubble has burst.

Gosh, the Yanks are sure going to be surprised to discover that all the cheap and abundant shale gas and oil they are producing and exporting around the world (37 million barrels of LPG in 2011, up from 7 million barrels in 2008) is nothing but dust and dreams in the atrophied eye of the Big Oil dinosaur.

Garman compounds his lie:

Despite all the hype, even the energy companies now acknowledge shale gas isn’t the answer to Britain’s energy needs.

These would be the same energy companies currently raking in massive, artificially induced profits thanks to the current green energy policies? The very same companies whose interests will not be served by a glut of cheap gas flooding the market thanks to drilling companies they and their government cronies have no (other than regulatory) control over?

Ministers are having to face up to the fact that there isn’t much of it…

The British Geological Survey thinks otherwise. According to its website the BGS has not altered its position so where have ministers got this new information from? And can we see it for ourselves?

…it won’t bring down bills…

Just like it hasn’t brought down bills in the US?

…and it’s damaging to our climate.

Damaging how? From plant food CO2 pollution? Is Garman one of the so called “experts” that our Westminster village idiots are listening to? Maybe. There are others…

The Prime Minister convened the Downing Street summit to hear from companies including Shell, Centrica and Schlumberger, which have been working on shale gas projects in America and exploring the potential of supplies in Ukraine and China.

Shall and Centrica, (aka Scottish Gas and British Gas) have invested heavily in the renewables market. They aren’t going to to be cheerleaders for shale gas when the government’s Green Deal has put this on the table.

Schlumberger is the largest oil servicing industry in the world. Andrew Gould, former CEO of Schlumberger said:

There is I don’t think any doubt that long term, shale gas is going to be one of the big, new energy sources both in the U.S. and overseas.

He also said:

Natural gas burns with fewer emissions than other fossil fuels, which makes it attractive as government and industry try to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

So what changed the company’s mind? Does the Green Deal promise to line their pockets too?

The ministers were told Britain was not in a position to exploit vast amounts of its own shale gas stores. “The reserves aren’t absolutely huge compared with the likes of America, Ukraine and North Africa,” said a senior government source. “And we are relatively densely populated. It is a question of how much we can get out, and at what cost. There is a not-insignificant amount of domestic supply, but not a game-changing amount.”

Britain isn’t absolutely huge compared to the likes of America. Our needs are exponentially smaller. Our shale gas reserves are game-changing but the government doesn’t want to change the game. The government prefers we impoverish ourselves with the Green Deal! And all in the name of saving the planet from a climate catastrophe that doesn’t fornicating exist!

Mr Davey now rejects the idea that a rush to bring shale gas online will have the biggest impact on reducing household energy bills. Speaking after the Downing Street meeting, he said industry experts were “clear that it would take time for shale gas to be exploited in the UK” and cautioned that the reserves “are not quite as large as some have been speculating”.

Some being the scientific “speculators” of British Geological Survey rather than the vested financial interest “speculators” who benefit greatly from renewables subsidies?

In 2010, a British Geological Survey estimated that, based on experience in the US, UK shales could hold 150 billion cubic metres of gas, equivalent to roughly two years’ of UK demand. While some shale gas exploration in the UK could still go ahead, it will be “very cautionary”, with tight regulations on both environmental impacts and the effects on people living near by. The energy company Cuadrilla Resources has admitted that operations to exploit a substantial shale gas field near Blackpool were responsible for two earth tremors a year ago.

Didn’t the BGS report also say that the very minor earthquakes pose a very minor threat in an area that has a particular kind of geology and should not prevent fracking? Or was that particular cherry too bitter for Green Deal Davey?

Mark Hanafin, managing director of the energy production division of Centrica, played down the UK’s potential to cash in on the technology. “UK shale production… I think it’s important and we should develop it, but I don’t think it’s going to be a game changer,” Mr Hanafin said in Paris earlier this month, according to Dow Jones.

Apparently the Green Deal is a game changer. Just not for the poor bastards (us) who get to foot the bill for it and fall into energy poverty and face the spectre of looming blackouts as a result.

A Shell spokesman said that “development will be a bit slower in Europe” because of problems of both geology and community impact. “UK shale gas is unproven geologically, but we are taking a look to see what the potential might be.”

No you’re not. You are trying your damnedest to prevent it.

On Tuesday, Mr Davey will publish the Government’s long-awaited Energy Bill, promising that it will bring down energy bills and secure future supplies. He will make clear that Britain must not be dependent on gas, despite George Osborne’s insistence in the Budget that “gas is cheap, has much less carbon than coal and will be the largest single source of our electricity in the coming years”. Jennifer Webber, from the industry body RenewableUK, said the reforms must instead “ensure that the expansion of renewable energy is at the heart of our energy strategy”.

Mr. Davey is Lib Dem. He is a member of a party that lost the last general election profoundly but slimed its way into power because Cameron wanted tenancy of Number 10 in the worst possible way. He is a greenie who would see your gran frozen to death but that’s okay because it’ll be for the chiiiiildren yet unborn (and will continue to be unborn if the Malthusians get their way). This diseased mollusc is dictating to us that hidously expensive renewable energy is good and abundant cheap shale gas is bad. We, as a nation, are dying on our feet, crippled with debt on an epic scale that rises by billions every week. And this pig’s rectum of a politician is going to proliferate the stupidity with his fraudulent Green Deal?

The next general election revolution can’t come soon enough.

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the Stars…

Not anymore we aint, not if this bunch of swivel eyed evil bastards get their way. It will be forbidden. No more space travel no more sea travel no more air travel for us plebs, just the privileged few. We peasants can rot where we were born and aspire to nothing but drudgery and disease and an early death. Don’t expect to get to my age kids, you are going to all be dead by 30.

We have to agree to be poor, to live in a hovel and eat only sustainable local produce. Yes we have no bananas, we won’t have them tomorrow either, and Strawberries in January will become a Capital crime. The WWF (might as well call them the Waffen SS and be done with it) are an old, formed in the sixties, venerable (to many, Govts , UN Panel on Climate Change) extremely well funded and influential global organisation. But they apparently want to burn down the village to save it. Oops, not burn it down, jeez think of the carbon! no carefully dismantle and recycle it. Unpave Paradise and put up a stinking swamp, as it were.

All power must come from renewables by 2050 (that will be bugger all then) but not only that, insane enough as it is, the WWF think they can do it by not using nasty stuff like steel, Glass and concrete. Umm Windmills and solar panels need a hell of a lot of all of that, and the essential element in making the windmills work are rare earth metals. Well they don’t call them rare for nothing, and they leave a nasty gash in the ground extracting them, no way round that. But very Animal Farm eh? some gashes bad (carbon fuels) some gashes good (rare earth) or do you think that the WWF just haven’t thought this all through, and can’t do sums for toffee? I look forward with considerable interest to the Windmills made of blancmange and marshmallow pies though, and cabled by Spaghetti don’t you?

This is all so evilly insane I don’t know where to stop or start here. I have said many times that the only realistic future that mankind has is to get the hell off this planet and colonise new ones. We cannot sit here contemplating our navels till the sun goes out, or we go out with it.  But that’s just what the likes of the WWF want us to do and be Morrissey with it!

I’m sure my  fellow kitty kounter Lynne would have done a much better job of this post, but as you know, we are having a bit of a torrid time round here, and I wanted to keep the momentum going for as long as is possible.

Here’s the article that sets it out far better than I just have.

H/T to my friend, and long term commenter on Samizdata, Alisa.

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