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January 3rd, 2013:

Sentimentalizing Serial Murder

Anthony Daniels (“Theodore Dalrymple”) compares the attitudes of two women, born ten years apart, toward the serial murderers who killed (and in one case at least, raped and tortured) a sister of each.

Is the difference merely idiosyncratic, or is it expressive of a change in the general culture? Or perhaps, as one commenter suggests, it is a difference in “class”; hard-working vs. upper-crust, I think she means.
Also, I was struck by this remark from a commenter:

According to Jewish ethics, when it comes to sins committed against another person, only the victim has the right to forgive the sinner. Third parties, including God, do not get involved. In sins against God, God can be asked for forgiveness.

The piece is fascinating, absorbing–Dalrymple at his best.   Highly recommended.

Obama – a Labour saving device?

According to the BBC:

The UK should emulate the US idea of having a day dedicated to encouraging people to shop at small, local shops, Labour’s Chuka Umunna has said.

Well why not?  We are doing our best to emulate the US’s trillions in debt after all.  What could go wrong?

The shadow business secretary has asked American Express – which sponsors the US initiative – to see if they could bring the idea to the UK this year.

Errrr, but isn’t American Express part of the evil capitalist system Labour keeps warning us about?

He has suggested 7 December as the first “Small Business Saturday”.

The anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbour?  I can see how that will go down well.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said it was an idea which would be considered.

But clearly not acted upon hence a tip of the wink to AmEx in the hope they’ll be willing to stump up help out.

In the US the idea of a day to promote local traders began in 2010 and traditionally follows Thanksgiving.

And in case we haven’t got the message…

President Barack Obama and his daughters visited an independent book shop on Small Business Saturday.

Complete with a pic of the Obama girls going shopping with their old man.  No photo opportunity will be overlooked.

US figures suggest US consumers aware of the promotion, which is heavily plugged in social media and enjoys celebrity support, spent £3.4bn in small shops on the day this year.

But doesn’t actually mention how much would normally have been spent in local shops on the previous Saturday or on the same day the year before.  So there goes any idea of context.  Oops!

As for celebrity support?  He’s kidding isn’t he?  Isn’t he…?

In the UK a similar idea, on a smaller scale, has seen a day dedicated to encouraging people to use their local record store.

That statement is almost beyond fisking but I’ll try.  Why on earth would music lovers want to do that in the age of the much cheaper interwebby download thingy and Amazon?

Mr Umunna said: “We must do more to celebrate the contribution local, small independent businesses make to our economy and encourage people to buy from them.

As long as they are record shops?  Surely Chuka should be doing more to prevent shop owners losing money through criminal activities like burglary, robbery and shoplifting.  Crime is as much a threat to the livelihood of local shop owners, especially in cities and towns, as supermarkets and retail parks.  Not to mention being the victim of crime is traumatic in the extreme.

For some reason Chuka doesn’t mention the problem of loss of revenue due to the underclass robbing honest people blind.  It’s clearly not an issue.

Establishing a Small Business Saturday in the UK, a concept which has enjoyed considerable success in the US, would provide a small but simple and effective way to celebrate local small businesses and encourage more people to buy from them on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Clearly Chuka has never been shopping with keeping the cost as low as possible in mind.  And what bleeding business is it of his where people chose to spend their money?  How come he’s so concerned all of a sudden?  Did he get a retail Damascene conversion while perambulating along Streatham High Street yesterday?  Or does he have an agenda?  Something to do with union donations to Labour maybe?

A Small Business Saturday in the UK is something all local authorities, whatever their political persuasion, could support and promote.

Yes they could.  And I could tell them to mind their own scammelling business.  I shop where I like.  I could also demand they stop wasting our bloody money on stupid, doomed to failure initiatives!

The Department for Communities and Local Government said it would consider the idea, but stressed the action already being taken to support independent traders in England.

Supporting them by strangling them in red tape, by ensuring that prices and overheads skyrocket, by taxing them out of business?  I reckon that’s precisely the sort of help local traders can do without.

Local Growth Minister Mark Prisk said: “We’re determined to offer practical support to our High Streets, which is why we’ve doubled the amount of small business rate relief to new and smaller shops.

If it’s such a huge relief why are small shops going out of business at an increasing rate?  Or am I imagining the proliferation of empty shop premises that used to be independent businesses blighting our high streets?

This is one part of a multimillion-pound package of support to Town Teams and Portas Pilots up and down the country, including mentoring from retail experts and workshops to address the challenges they face.

Chucking millions at more frigging quangos?  Is that the sum of Labour’s solution?  Oh please, just do one will you…

And for budding entrepreneurs, we’re providing over £80m of start-up loans for young people starting their own businesses.

What’s wrong with them pushing a fruit and veg barrow?  Or cleaning cars?  You know, like old fashioned budding entrepreneurs did?  Why should unproven little buds get an advantage that established but ailing businesses can’t? Who foots the bill when those same little buds fall flat on their faces?  Or are we to assume that every one of them is going to be a fabulous success?  Where is this money going to come from and at what rate of borrowing?

Oh, wait.  It’s going to come from us poor buggering taxpayers isn’t it.  Therefore it doesn’t matter that Sound-bite Chuka is advocating the highly potential waste of £80 million to salve his and Labour’s conscience.

It’s not his money, is it…

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