Monday, 30 June 2008

Video Of The Week (26)

Video Of The Week 23/06 - 30/06: Davis Meets 'Metric Martyr'

David Davis took time out from the Haltemprice & Howden campaign to meet Janet Devers, a market greengrocer in East London who was taken to court for selling goods to her customers using the measures they are familiar with - pounds and ounces.

You Have Got To Be Kidding (Part 138)

via Leg-Iron:

To those who insist that education standards are doing just fine under the current administration, I present this:

A student is awarded marks for writing 'Fuck off' in response to an exam question.
From the linked Times article, quoting AQA chief examiner Peter Buckroyd who marked the English paper concerned, a statement that could easily be mistaken for satire of the Onion variety:
“If it had had an exclamation mark it would have got a little bit more because it would have been showing a little bit of skill...We are trying to give higher marks to the students who show more skills.”
How did it ever come to this?

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Seen Elsewhere (5)

Recommended reading elsewhere from the past week:

  • Falling squarely in the 'posts I wish I'd written' category, Christina Croft of It Is Better To Be Free on the quest for power.

  • Tim Worstall, on the manifestation of said power in Polly's dreamland, AKA Sweden. DK's strongly-worded reaction to this is entirely warranted.

  • Britain is not quite at that stage, but if Harriet Harman had her way... Leg-Iron of Underdogs Bite Upwards wonders if Labour are trying to lose voters to the BNP, or just clueless.

  • Fruit and vegetables in the EU: Jon Worth on the myth, or not, of legislation on cucumber curvature. The Secret Person on too small kiwi fruit. David Davis met a 'metric martyr' greengrocer in East London.

  • SepticIsle on Gordon Brown one year on.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Our Policy Is No Policy

Spotted in the Local Government Chronicle, a letter from a Tory councillor regarding plans for a new eco-town in his area.

...

The position stated in the article reflected that of the council's mayor Barry Cooper, who is not in a position to make executive decisions on behalf of the authority.

Currently our council policy is clear - that we are in fact undecided, but have serious concerns.

...

Tunnel Vision

David Marquand, a social democrat and former chief advisor to the European Commission has an article in (where else?) the Guardian, in which he laments the Irish 'No' and calls on Europe's leaders to push forward with federalisation.

Do we want our children and grandchildren to live in a world run by the Americans, Chinese, Indians and perhaps Russians, or are we prepared to make the qualitative leap towards the federalism that Kissinger's question implies, and become at least a quasi-superpower in our own right?

Though it's rarely put across as starkly as Marquand has done here, this seems to be the unquestioned received wisdom shared by Europe's leaders. The 21st century world is going to be a more complex place, with numerous challenges to the current order.

In response, what the various nations of Europe all need to do is, regardless of what the people wish, to divest their power to control their own affairs away from democratically elected governments and into a wasteful, corrupt, unwieldy and unaccountable bureaucracy...

Hold on a minute. Are you sure this is really such a good idea?


Even some of the more sensible and honest pro-EU commentators, like Nosemonkey, acknowledge that the only way Marquand and his ilk will get their federalist wish is to ride roughshod over the wishes of the people. As one commenter succinctly put it
Maybe the Irish like being Irish and don't really care about this whole wanna-be superpower business.

The people of Ireland sent a strong signal two weeks ago that they didn't wish their nation to become a state in the United States of Europe of the federalists' dreams. As did the French and the Dutch when they voted on the original Constitution back in 2005. I don't think it takes a genius to predict how the British would have voted were we given our promised referendum.

But as we've seen in post after post at DK's and elsewhere, European leaders don't think much of democratic dissent from their grand federalist plan, and will do whatever they can to avoid it. Is it all in aid of a Marquand-like desire to be part of a superpower to rival China and the US? Is there something closer to home that drives this unwanted political consensus that national sovereignty must be surrendered?

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Tories Won't Leave Us Alone

A good friend of mine who comments quite regularly on this blog opposed my previous post's proposal that in order to widen its appeal, the Libertarian Party should adopt a more populist stance rather than attempting to bring (what I consider to be) too many new ideas to the table.

One of his reasons for that opposition is the predicted electoral success of the Conservative Party in 2010, upon which, he suggests, an economically 'right-wing' Libertarian Party will no longer be "of use" - i.e. that it will at that point not be offering anything sufficiently different for people to have a reason to vote LPUK over Conservative.

In two years time, when we have a Conservative government that only someone of desperate naivete imagines will be anything other than quite sharply to the right of Cameron's current touchy-feely rhetoric, what exactly will be the use of a small pro-business, pro-"free market" party?

The idea that just because the Libertarian Party are broadly pro-'free market' (at least in the Adam Smith Institute sense of the term), a Tory government would close off the Libertarian Party's niche and render it useless seems to me to indicate a somewhat one-dimensional view of the political landscape.

Old Holborn left a comment at the cross-post of my previous post at the LPUK Blog that to me gives an indication of one of the key differences - the fact that a central plank of the libertarian philosophy can be summarised as:
LPUK: Just leave me alone, alright? Stop telling me what to do. I don't belong to you.

Who thinks that, whether or not Cameron's Conservatives will turn to the right of their pre-election rhetoric once elected, they will actually take any real steps towards rolling back the tide of regulation and legislation that has been introduced since New Labour came to power? That they will restore freedom and personal responsibility to individuals and release small businesses from the tangle of red tape (e.g.)? Of course, for it to mean anything it would have to include a referendum on continued EU membership - something I am thoroughly sceptical the Conservatives will give us no matter how far 'right' they move on other issues, for good or ill.

In addition to that, there are the issues on which the Conservatives are predicted to be even worse, from a libertarian point of view, than Labour. These include abortion, gay rights and drug policy. Although there has been some improvement from the 1980s and early 1990s, the Conservative party is still sufficiently populated by the types of moralisers whose views permeate the Mail and Express that libertarian progress on the issue of drugs is highly unlikely under a Tory government. In addition, I fear that much of the current civil libertarian rhetoric expressed by the likes of David Davis may evaporate if there is a terrorist attack or similar once the Tories are in power with a significant majority.

If the Libertarian Party has one consistent message, it should be "the Government should leave us alone to live our own lives as we see fit, as long as we do not harm anyone else". The Conservatives, whether they move to the 'right' economically or not, will never do so.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Creating Demand

If the Libertarian Party is to become an entity that justifies media coverage and has a chance of keeping its deposit at elections, it clearly needs to attract a membership of several times its current number. There is a need to think hard at this stage as to how best to go about this.

One thing that is clear to me is that levels of disillusionment with politicians are currently very high. Even Polly Toynbee wrote earlier this week that "Loathing of politics and politicians [is] already reaching a peak, with disbelief of every fact and statistic, and support for any anti-politics gesture...". There is a 'gap in the market'. I fear, though, that the Libertarian Party is missing the opportunity that this public mood provides them.

It may not be a welcome suggestion, but I consider that a belief in the inherent rightness of libertarian philosophy is not going to cut it here - it is not going to give us the popular appeal we need to grow in members and, when we eventually do stand in a constituency election somewhere, win votes.

To do that, in my opinion we need to adapt our message in such a way that it concords with what people are posting to the blogs (read Comment is Free, Have Your Say etc), saying to each other in the pubs, writing letters to the papers. If we are trying to preach and convert to libertarianism, we are on a hiding to nothing. Politics, at least in the modern developed world, just doesn't work that way. People don't often change their opinions, even when presented with a very strong argument!

One particular area upon which I think that we need to compromise is on our position as regards corporations and free markets. Some of the recent posts on the party blog, particulary this one, have been at odds with the views of many of our existing members. Devil's Kitchen, through whom I joined the party, responded "I was going to comment on this, but then I realised that it was such a load of old crap that it would take all day and I simply couldn't be bothered.".

Although I agree with the positions taken in the posting concerned and its follow-up to a significant degree, and its philosophical consistency with our positions on other issues (e.g.), politically it doesn't make sense. There is quite clearly to me a 'left-wing' minority and a 'right-wing' majority within the party, and this is a potentially divisive issue, as some of the comments below the 'Reality Catcher' post indicate. Not only are a majority of the members 'right-wing', the party branding is 'right-wing' as well. It's hardly likely to attract a passing anarcho-syndicalist, and aside from that anarcho-syndicalists tend not to join political parties anyway.

If the Libertarian Party is to grow and begin to flourish as a political party, we need to concentrate on what unites us, not what divides us. To attract new members, we need to tap into the sentiments that are already out there and do it in such a way that people identify with us, not preach to them and expect them to change their minds. Discontentment with the political status quo is great, therefore the opportunity for us is right there. We should work with it - not let idealism get in the way.

Thanatophobia

via Pagar at DK's:

Does anyone else see a link between the environmental lobby and their fear of apocalypse and other interventions by those that seek to meddle in our lives for our own good.

I have a theory that deep down such people are cowards. They are afraid of their own mortality and project that fear by attempting to ban people undertaking activities that they consider potentially damaging- whether it's drinking, drug taking, smoking or driving a car at a speed faster than they dictate is allowable.

There has been a huge movement over the last twenty years to try to eliminate all risk from life and I think these cowards may actually believe they can live for ever. Personally, I am more afraid of medical science keeping me alive for decades more than is natural so that I can drool and defecate in some horrific nursing home.

I have deliberately adopted a lifestyle that will hopefully ensure that does not happen- only problem is that the health gestapo are doing their best to try to prevent me living my life as I wish to.

I hadn't thought of it this way before - though I've often wondered why there's so much overlap between authoritarians of the leftist type and environmentalists - but it makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?


UPDATE: Further reading

For anoyne who's wondering what my position on the great climate change debate is, the first paragraph of the above-linked article by Charles Krauthammer pretty much sums it up:
I'm not a global warming believer. I'm not a global warming denier. I'm a global warming agnostic who believes instinctively that it can't be very good to pump lots of CO2 into the atmosphere, but is equally convinced that those who presume to know exactly where that leads are talking through their hats.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

A Song For Tom

Link

The Features - 'A Million Ways To Sing The Blues'

Monday, 23 June 2008

Monday Funny

This is for LesterJones of Comment is Free, and anyone else who tries to argue that advertising is 'coercion'.

Spotted in Zambia (not by me, of course):

Video Of The Week (25)

Video Of The Week 16/06-22/06: The Song They Didn't Write?

Creaky Boards, a New York indie circuit band made headlines when they accused Coldplay of plagiarising one of their songs - entitled 'The Songs I Didn't Write' - for their #1 hit 'Viva La Vida'.

Watch through to the footnotes; it seems it was all a remarkable coincidence - that gave the Boards some much needed publicity.

No Comment Necessary

Via Tim Worstall:

Guardian News & Media Ltd offers staff a range of benefits in addition to our competitive salaries. These vary according to your employment contract, but are summarised below for your information:

Pension (contributory)

Life Assurance

Insurance

Private Healthcare

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Seen Elsewhere (4)

The hangover: After the celebration of last week's Irish vote for sovereignty and accountability, this week has brought the inevitable cynicism and contempt from European leaders and their supporters.

  • Open Europe Blog is keeping track of the most outrageous quotes from European leaders and MEPs, as I post over at the other place of the contempt one Romanian party in particular has for democratic principles. Ian Parker-Joseph pointedly says "Remember Ceaucescu".

  • New Labour denied us Brits our referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, but Guido Fawkes came up with a way. Vote 'Yes' or 'No' to Lisbon. Hurry, today's the last day you can vote.

  • From Ben Brogan's blog to the front page of the Independent, the 'Shami smear'. The consistently excellent SepticIsle (of 'Obsolete', IMHO the most interesting single-author blog) is spot on when he describes Burnham as having "nothing left to resort to than insults and shit-stirring". Spy Blog speculate as to where Burnham got his rumours from.


QT's Five To Watch

I've made use of Blogger's new 'Blog List' feature to add a new section to my sidebar, 'QT's Five To Watch'.

The idea behind this is to showcase five blogs each month that in my view do not receive as much attention as they deserve to. These may be new blogs, or older blogs whose authors who have been industriously blogging away, but not raising their profile as much as perhaps they would like.

This month's five are:
  • Aled Dilwyn Fisher, a new young Green Party blogger.

  • Charlie Marks, who has been blogging for 'socialism and self-determination' at Rebellion Sucks since spring 2007, and supports a phenomenal number of causes.

  • Clairwil, who has been blogging politics and life in a uniquely engaging way since October 2005.

  • It Is Better To Be Free. Can't say fairer than that. This is another brand new blog with a frenetic rate of posting. It's not the most attractive blog I've ever seen, but it's a web log in the original sense of the word - this really is one to watch.

  • Underdogs Bite Upwards is that rare thing, a strong political blog on the Livejournal platform. Leg-iron, the author, is a regular commenter at DK's and other libertarian blogs.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Is David Davis Being Snooped On?

Via Ben Brogan:

...The only thing we've been talking about along the Burma Road for the past few hours is Andy Burnham's extraordinary comment about Shami Chakrabarti and David Davis. In an interview in the latest issue of Progress, the Culture Secretary says he is surprised by those who have been "seduced" by the hero of Haltemprice & Howden's liberal credentials, adding that he finds something:
"very curious in the man who was, and still is I believe, an exponent of capital punishment, having late-night, hand-wringing, heart-melting phone calls with Shami Chakrabarti."

Spy Blog ask a more serious question about the remarks than whether or not the sexual references represent a personal smear against Davis (bolding theirs):
How does Andy Burnham appear to know that David Davis and Shami Chakrabarti are in telephonic contact at all ?

How does he know that such phone calls are "late night" ones ?

Are Labour Ministers being briefed by the the Security Service, GCHQ, the Police or by other snoopers, about the telephone calling patterns and perhaps the content of intercepted phone conversations of either Rt. Hon. David Davis, or of Shami Chakrabarti, or of both of them?

Is such information being supplied by Covert Human Intelligence sources i.e. informers ?

There may be a (relatively) innocent explanation, but as Spy Blog remark, if not then the implications are sinister in the extreme!

Hat-tip: UK Libertarian Party unofficial blog


UPDATE (23:00): It seems (thanks SepticIsle and Spyblog commenter Paul) that the origin of Burnham's suggestion may be an appearance by Shami Chakrabarti on the Today programme, in which she "said that Davis had informed her of his decision and she'd asked him to reconsider" (Paul).

Still, how Burnham got from that to 'hand-wringing, heart-melting phone calls' remains a mystery.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

The Conspiracy Of 'Progress'

The aftermath of the Irish no vote has produced a rash of remarks from politicians and editorials from commentators that display the degree to which the voice of the people is held in contempt by the political elite.

The expressions of such by countless European leaders and MEPs (see for instance here and here), most notably the Romanian Social Democrats, who issued a press release lamenting that "the referendum in Ireland has demonstrated that direct democracy (by way of referendum) cannot ensure the progress of the European process..."

Steve Richards wrote in the Independent that "...leaders fear the voters too much. If they became less neurotically attentive, politics would become more interesting and, I suspect, more progressive"†.

This use of the word "progressive" in this context by Richards brought to mind a post by Paulie, of the Never Trust A Hippy blog. It's quite old, but he linked back to it only 3 days ago, so I assume he hasn't changed his opinion much. In it, he writes (bolding not mine):

For the avoidance of doubt, advocates of direct democracy should be treated as objective enemies of progress.

The word 'progress', used in this context, describes nothing more and nothing less than the unidirectional transfer of power from the individual to the state. That is, the giving over to the state of political power (to "representatives" who are then virtually unaccountable to the people who elected them, and in many cases are indistinguishable from one another), and the loss of the power to run your own life as you see fit.

This is what the likes of Paulie* and Steve Richards are doing. For 'progressives' like them to achieve their aims, the people have to be bulldozed out of the way. The voter is nothing but an inconvenience - a hurdle which their grand plans must overcome.

This is why it should be a priority for the opponents of the ever-growing state to raise the public's awareness of the contempt in which they are held. Only once this is achieved can we as libertarians make progress towards dismantling it.


UPDATE: Over here. Simon Jenkins:
Have you noticed how the political establishment hates elections?
It regards them as vulgar, foreign, exhibitionist and unpredictable.

To those in power they are mere concessions to mob rule. If electors did not insist on them, elections would have been abolished long ago as Victorian gimmicks to appease proletarian sentiment.


† Bolding mine
* I cite the Never Trust a Hippy blog often not because the author is particularly influential, but because it showcases the 'progressive agenda' at its most naked. Where else would you find a statement like
"It is not enough to identify the BBC as a bulwark against the Thatcherite right, the BBC's rivals need to be attacked." from a leftist?

Monday, 16 June 2008

Video Of The Week (24)

Video Of The Week 09/06-15/06: David Davis Resignation Statement

A noble endeavour indeed...

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Seen Elsewhere (3)

It's been a pretty momentous week in politics, so a bumper batch of recommended reading is what I have for you today:

David Davis

  • The resignation of shadow home secretary David Davis over 42-day detention brought a mixed response on the blogs. The Devil applauded the Tory's decision wildly. Dave Osler is rather more cynical, pointing out some of Davis' less liberal views.

  • The UK Libertarian Party invite Davis to campaign under the banner of libertarianism. Guido Fawkes publicises; Unity (writing at Liberal Conspiracy) is rather more cynical.
  • Also at Liberal Conspiracy, Conor Foley argued for supporting Davis in the by-election, while Jennie Rigg took the other side of the argument. Both posts were followed by some lively discussion.

  • Tim Ireland predicted an opponent for Davis from 'The Scum' - but perhaps not "the most stupid man in the history of British politics" (The Broadsheet Rag). Iain Dale awaits the Davis-MacKenzie contest with anticipation; perhaps not surprisingly - polls give MacKenzie little hope.

  • Labour councillor Luke Akehurst sparks outrage by one-upping MacKenzie in the stupid stakes - suggesting that a "survivor or relative of a victim of a terrorist attack" should be run by Labour against Davis. Harry Haddock of Nation of Shopkeepers gives Luke both barrels. 7/7 survivor Rachel North explained to Luke in rather more measured tones exactly why he is wrong.

  • Fortunately it's not all this bad on the Labour front, however, as The Exile reports that Labour MP Bob Marshall-Andrews has thrown his support behind Davis.

Irish No Vote
  • Guido Fawkes greets the referendum result with an emphatic cheer, and four pints of the black stuff.

  • Euro-bloggers Jon Worth (lots of links to interesting stuff here) and Ralf Grahn, as you might expect, aren't quite so pleased with the turn of events. Re:Europa has a round-up of Euroblog responses.

  • Nosemonkey of EUtopia declares the Lisbon treaty dead, and implores the "political elites" of Europe to think again.

  • EU Referendum has plenty of reaction to the No vote and its aftermath. Devil's Kitchen has a comprehensive reaction to the attempts by Eurocrats to carry on as though nothing had happened. David Semple at Though Cowards Flinch gives a left-wing Eurosceptic's view.

  • Finally, spare a thought for bookmakers Paddy Power - who underestimated just that when they paid out on Yes on Thursday night!

Saturday, 14 June 2008

The Show Must Go On - Whether You Like It Or Not

...Or why the arrogant architects of the EU superstate just won't take no for an answer:

Via OpenEurope Blog:

"The ratification procedure is already complete in 18 countries. We hope therefore that the other member states will persevere with the ratification process." - Nicolas Sarkozy & Angela Merkel (BBC)
"Naturally we are disappointed, it is a hard blow...Nevertheless I am convinced that we need this treaty. Therefore we are sticking with our goal for it to come into force. The ratification process must continue." - Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Reuters)
"This is a serious blow to European construction [but] the path of European integration must not however be stopped." - Franco Frattini (Reuters)
"[Irish PM Brian Cowen] also believed that the treaty is not dead, the treaty is alive...He was clear that this vote should not be seen as a vote against the EU" - Jose Manuel Barroso (AFP)
"Ratifications should continue to take their course" - Jose Manuel Barroso (BBC)
"When there is popular consultation you get populism, nationalism, xenopohobia, all sorts of lies..." - Andrew Duff MEP (AFP)
"Ireland will for sure find a way of ratifying this treaty" - Donald Tusk (Reuters)
"...Nor should we accept the bleating from Eurosceptics that there is somehow something undemocratic about a new referendum. It is perfectly reasonable to address a divergence in the positions of the 27 EU countries by asking the minority of one to think again" - Richard Corbett MEP (Blog)
... and, of course, our very own David Miliband:
"I think it is right that we follow the view that each country must see the ratification process to a conclusion" - David Miliband (BBC)


As Nosemonkey (of Nosemonkey's EUtopia), who is hardly a committed Euro-sceptic, put it (bolding mine):

The European project was started by political elites as a trade association with delusions of grandeur. It is now much, much more than that, with competence creep after competence creep. It is too unwieldy and unaccountable for the people of a continent with more than its fair experience of despotism and dictatorship not to start taking offence if it continues down the route of "what we say goes, and there’s not much you can do about it".
...
The EU has evolved gradually over the years based on vague dreams. It’s time for a reality check.

Go read the whole post. I really hope the wisdom contained therein starts to filter through to the likes of the politicians quoted above.


Finally, enough of these two crap arguments from the 'Yes side':
The people voting No did so because they didn't understand the Treaty
...and the people voting Yes did understand the treaty, did they?


Just 862,000 out of ~400 million people voted against the Treaty
True. But only 752,000 out of those ~400 million voted for it!


UPDATE (16/06): OpenEurope have a whole new batch of quotes up showcasing the arrogant, bullying Eurocrats at their worst. Can we leave soon? Please.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Irish Lisbon Treaty Count As It Happens











IMAGE: Ordovicius

Detailed count results for each constituency will be up here as they come in.

Early indications from Dublin are suggesting an advantage for the No side - up to 70%-30% in favour of No in Dublin South-East.

UPDATE (11:08AM): Betfair odds have shifted dramatically following the release of these figures. No is now 1/10 on, Yes 5/1 against to win!

UPDATE (12:23PM): Guido Fawkes calls it for No. The Irish Times reports that tallies indicate a No victory. No is now 1/33 on at Betfair.

UPDATE (13:22PM): No vote ahead in first official results by 55%-45%. Irish Justice Minister concedes that the Lisbon Treaty has been rejected by the people of Ireland.

It looks like this will be a No vote...At the end of the day, for a myriad of reasons, the people have spoken. - Dermot Ahern
UPDATE (17:17PM): The full results of the count are now in, and the No campaign has won the referendum by 53.4% to 46.6%.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Why I Hate Lefties (2)

Continued from yesterday...

2. The Sanctimony

There's a fairly famous quote by US right-wing commentator Charles Krauthammer:

"To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil."

Spending time on the blogs and forums arguing with leftists suggests that the above, applied to UK politics too, represents a substantial nugget of wisdom.

Leftist ideals are high ideals: Equality, fairness, diversity and well, as Krauthammer describes, simple 'niceness'. What could possibly be wrong with that.

Well, in practice, there's actually quite a lot wrong with that. That's a topic for another post (though the remainder of Krauthammer's article is a good place to start). What is inferred when, as a 'right-winger', you point out the flaws, is that therefore you are clearly opposed to those high ideals. Therefore, you are nasty, selfish, mean and, well, evil. Voila, the roots of leftist sanctimony. Differences of opinion are moral failings.

You see it on Comment Is Free all the time. As Sunny pointed out in his article a couple of days ago, the CiF audience isn't made up of typical Guardian readers, and indeed there are more 'right-wingers' on Comment Is Free than leftists. On thread after thread, the same pattern emerges: Right-wing commentators will call the article rubbish and the author stupid, and the leftists will call them nasty and selfish. Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.

I wouldn't exactly say that this comment, by 'bass46' on one of Polly Toynbee's dafter recent columns, is typical (four fifths of the respondents are handing her her hat, including two Swedes who between them noted 10 "errors" in an article dealing with Swedish politics). But it does exemplify the attitude to the 'other side' that I am talking about:
The term "right wing" is a great description for being selfish. It is a great way to describe a fundamentally nasty view of human nature, which attributes to mankind little more than the desire to shaft other members of humanity for personal gain...Time and again the right claim ownership of ideas they never thought of, claim success they've never had, and (often) elections they never won. Despite all the turmoil created every single time some useless right wing idiot lies his way to an election victory, the defenders of greed still claim they make everyone rich. It's dogma piled on bullshit multiplied by fantasy, and it always leads to the same results, inequality, crime, unemployment and broad unhappiness across society.
"Dogma piled on bullshit multiplied by fantasy". What a wonderful description - of the arguments of the left. Just as in Sweden, where disillusionment with the tax-and-spend wildly Social Democrat party led to the centrist coalition's 2006 victory that is the topic of Toynbee's article. The Social Democrat party lost 16% of its members last year, according to English-language Swedish paper The Local.

When this is the best example of socialism in action your side can point to (alternatives I've been presented with in CiF debates have included 1970s Tanzania(!) and Cuba(!!)), perhaps you should rethink your characterisation of right-wingers as useless idiots, bass46 - and there's plenty more where that came from.

Despite this, I don't hate all lefties. Only the lefties who preach the moral high ground in their arguments, and those who do nothing to stop them. Are you in either one of those categories? If so, then I despise you.*

* As with the previous post, the title and final paragraph are adapted from here (read the first post in the series for the explanation)

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Why I Hate Lefties (1)

Those of you who have been following this blog for some time may be wondering why the Ian_QT of old seems to have turned into a red-faced, keyboard-bashing ranter in recent weeks.

I lay much of the blame for this shift at the feet of the opponents of the leftist persuasion, with whom I go into keyboard battle most days.

Specifically:

1. The double standards

Otherwise known as 'those who dish it out but can't take it'.

Long-standing left-wing blogger Sunny Hundal has a post up at Pickled Politics, in which he discusses the ins and outs of writing for Comment Is Free. I've never written 'for' CiF, but I do comment there quite often. One of his remarks that caught my eye referred to the "disproportionate amount of abuse" that women bloggers get in the comments:

many frequently get called a man-hating lesbian for no good reason.
Hmm, I thought. One woman blogger in particular came to mind. Feminist writer Julie Bindel is a prime example of the double standards phenomenon. Until last December when she threw in the Comment is Free towel with a catalogue of "what I and other feminists have to put up with" entitled 'Why Men Hate Me', Bindel repeatedly used her CiF platform to write about men in ways which, were they targeted at any other group, would be classed as bigotry.
From this hateful article (Nov '07), for instance:
...chanting fabulous slogans such as "men off the streets"...
...naming men as the problem...
Male violence towards women and children - yes, male - is pandemic. We must force them to change - to stop raping, killing and abusing us.

In response to a similarly hateful Bindel piece a year previous, Clairwil (yes, this Clairwil) joined the 'abusive men', describing Bindel's rhetoric as:
...Anti-male bigotry [that] is such a bore and remote from how the vast majority of women live.

Bindel is not the only female left-wing commentator who is good at dishing it out but rather less good at taking it. Polly Toynbee, the Labour-supporting, Tuscan villa-owning voice of the poor who makes so many factual errors in her columns that for a time there was a dedicated 'fact-checking' blog, is another classic example.

Polly described Boris Johnson as a
self-absorbed sociopath and serial liar
and described opponents of further integration into the European Union as
Euro-crazies
and
Euro-hysterics

Yes, Polly Toynbee is no stranger to vitriol. But when similar vitriol is thrown back in her direction in the comments threads, all of a sudden it is a different ball game. It would be reasonable to expect that a columnist who uses such language in their articles would be one of the last to whinge about a lack of "civil discourse" on the blogs.

Nope. Polly's hypocrisy knows no bounds.


It isn't just the women and the professionals who display the double standards. It's lefty bloggers too. Justin McKeating of Chicken Yoghurt (who we'll be seeing again later in this series) attacked Devil's Kitchen for objecting to a Bishop comparing climate change deniers sceptics to Josef Fritzl. But then, less than a week later, he posts this:
The next person to make a non-ironic and in-all-seriousness comparison between the Nazis and anybody else in the comments on this blog is banned for all eternity from making any other contribution.

It’s not clever. It’s not satirical. It’s rhetorically empty and it makes you look like a tit. That is all.
I'm not the only one baffled by this. As Longrider put it, "I can’t help but smile – after all, he is now doing exactly what he castigated the Devil's Kitchen or doing only a few days previously (i.e. dishing it out, but getting all po-faced when it comes flying back)".


For a final example of what I'm talking about, I turn to the left-wing blogger I have butted heads with more than any other: Paulie of Never Trust a Hippy. Paulie bemused Larry Teabag and Flying Rodent as well as myself by defending "demented ranting wreck" and prolific utiliser of the C-word Will Rubbish, while at the same time castigating Devil's Kitchen for, well, utilising the C-word prolifically:
Paulie - please can we have an official ruling on whether you count your brain-damaged friend here as a "negativist", and "a nasty abusive shithead", etc. given that he's dementedly rude, and incapable of anything except calling everyone he disagrees with a "c@#t".

It seems to me that he ticks all the boxes in your complaint-form against DK (or Roger Thornhill), except for being on your side.
(Larry Teabag).

Paulie later replied, denying that Will "gets 'brain damaged' on me", despite the fact that just a few comments previously Will had written:
larry teabag -- vermin -- should be put in a camp.
If this isn't double standards (read the whole thread to get a better idea) I don't know what is.

Yes, today I hate lefties, and will tomorrow and the day after. But only the lefties who display these double standards regarding their opponents, and those who do nothing to stop them. Are you in either one of those categories? If so, then I despise you.*

* The post title and the final paragraph are adapted from here. More to come.

Ireland: Vote Their Snouts Out















IMAGE: Adapted from Guido Fawkes

Admittedly the odds are now not looking good, but I have all my fingers crossed that Ireland can come up with the goods tomorrow.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Cross-Eyed Warmongers Not Welcome

Via Beau Bo D'or:















Yes - That's a real Boris Johnson quote, taken from an article published in the Telegraph following Bush's re-election in 2004.

Dubya visits London on June 15th. The Stop The War Coalition (PDF) are planning a demonstration against Bush's visit, to take place in Parliament Square starting at 5pm.

More intriguing (and almost certainly more unconventional) in its approach to protesting Bush is the mysterious 'Operation Manticore', organised by Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads. Going by the campaign website, Manticore is planned to echo Ireland's previous anti-Bush protest in 2003 - but this time with the added component of secrecy.

One blogger who was part of the network has already dropped out of Manticore. Sim-O wrote:

After reading in their forum where it was heading, I'll be following avidly, but not participating.

I'm all for a bit of gentle civil dis-obedience, but my bollocks aren't as big as they once were...

I'll certainly be watching this one with interest!

Comment Is Free In A Nutshell

Commenter DaBishop has got CiF's champagne socialists sussed:


1. I buy only the stuff I need. People who buy more stuff than me are guilty of Consumerism.

2. I get by on my salary. People who earn more than me are the Rich.

3. Statements 1 and 2 will always hold true no matter how much stuff I buy and how much money I earn.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Video Of The Week (23)

Video of the Week 02/06-08/06: Hillary Endorses Obama

After six long months of hard and at times acrimonious campaigning against him for the Democratic candidacy, Hillary Clinton concedes the race and endorses Barack Obama's bid for the White House.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

They Ain't Daft, Those Kids

Via House Of Dumb:

"A survey of more than 600 young women by Girlguiding UK revealed that...only one in four thought MPs were a force for good.", the Telegraph reports.

...and I bet only a few of them even know about the Kitchen!

Seen Elsewhere (2)

This week's recommended reading elsewhere in the British blogosphere:

  • This week's dominant issue has undoubtedly been 42 day detention. Just about every liberal or libertarian blogger has posted about it, but the most interesting commentary comes once again from SepticIsle.

  • The Nameless One on how 'Plane Stupid', well, live up down to their name.

  • Blogger anger at a Bishop who compared climate change deniers sceptics to Austrian incest psychopath Josef Fritzl is 'hysterical outrage', according to Justin McKeating of Chicken Yoghurt.

  • Excellent teacher blogger To Miss With Love's view on the perennial 'dumbing down exams' debate. The comments threads here are always worth a read, and this is certainly no exception.

  • Following on from George Monbiot (John Bolton) and AC Grayling (Robert Mugabe), Justin's fellow put-the-world-to-rights blogger Tim Ireland calls for George W Bush to be arrested when he visits the UK later this month. Watch out Mr President, Operation Manticore is coming to getcha!

Friday, 6 June 2008

Will Ireland Defy The Odds?















The voters of Ireland, the only EU member state to be given a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, may be about to defy their Government (and its main opposition party) and vote No next Thursday if polls published today are to be believed.

The TNS/MRBI poll for the Irish Times puts the No vote 5% ahead of the Yes, at 35%-30% - though a huge 28% are still undecided.

The swing to No is described by Vote No 2 Lisbon as "unprecedented" in the history of Irish polling, and suggests that the tactics of the No campaign, propelled forward by the efforts of groups like Libertas, as well as worker's organisations such as the UNITE trade union could succeed.

The odds against a No vote have dropped dramatically since the publication of the latest poll, though there is clearly significant scepticism that the predictions of the Irish Times will come to pass, as Yes is still the clear favourite at both Paddy Power and Betfair.

However, only two days ago, Paddy Power were offering odds of 3-1 against a No vote. Those odds have now come in to just 13-8 - less than two to one against.

It's going to be close. Here's hoping it's going to be No.

Previous post on the Irish referendum (posted 15th April)
Hat-tip: Michael (LPUK forums)

NAO: Spending Unwisely














The National Audit Office exists to scrutinise the use of public money by government departments and agencies to see if they are spending economically and effectively.

Here's one piece of ineffective spending I doubt they would be impressed by.

The above picture is of the NAO's stall at the Summer Graduate Fair at Earl's Court on Tuesday - without any recruiters, or for that matter any NAO recruitment materials, and thus unlikely to actually recruit anyone.

I was informed by staff it had been like that since the fair opened.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

BBC News: An Unbalanced Diet

IMAGE: Screenshot from BBC News online video

Anyone who still thinks the BBC give a toss about balanced news reporting probably doesn't tune in that often.

But they really should have been watching the BBC News at 6 o'clock this evening, for one of the most ludicrously biased news reports I've seen them have the gall to beam to the nation.

You can see the video of this polemic masquerading as a news report here. It is anti-ASDA and indeed anti-capitalist from start to finish.

On the 6 o'clock news, this was followed by some comment from Roger Harrabin (yes, this Roger Harrabin).

Balancing comment, from a conventional economist and/or (god forbid) a spokesperson from ASDA? Not a sausage.

I want to see a public apology for this report broadcast on the BBC, together with a promise not to use licence-payers' money to produce left-wing polemic and pretend it is news ever again. If they do so, we should all be legally entitled to a full refund on the fee. Until then, anyone who tries to tell me that BBC news doesn't abuse its 'remit' to broadcast left-wing propaganda knows where to shove it.

Aussie Children: Kill Yourselves

Utterly reprehensible. I'd go so far as to say this is perhaps the most fucked up thing I have ever come across on the web.

Whoever is responsible for this ought to be taken out and shot.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Video Of The Week (22)

Video of the Week 26/05 - 01/06: Pork & Beans

Think of as many internet memes as you can, and make them into a music video. What a genius idea, and who better to make it happen than Weezer, the band who brought "geek rock" to the mainstream?

Stupid Quote of the Day

From here:

"Hello, I’m a BNP member and activist. Richard Littlejohn is a bigot and many BNP members wouldn’t lower themselves to his simpleton views. For instance, while both the BNP and Richard Littlejohn, might agree on many policies, the difference between the BNP and Richard Littlejohn, is that we in the BNP have our policies for the right reasons and can defend those reasons, where Richard is just being a hateful bigot." - Chris Barnett
Riiiiight.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Seen Elsewhere (1)

A short round-up of recommended reading elsewhere in the British blogosphere:

The Great Pretense











It should by now go without saying that representative democracy in the UK is a sham.

A choice between three authoritarian, nannying, high-tax, high-maintenance, moderately socially liberal, pro-EU parties is clearly no choice at all.

Yet, despite this, there continue to be commentators who sing the praises of this sham democracy at every opportunity.

Their aim appears to this cynic's eye to be to keep the distance between the man or woman on the street and political power as great as possible while still maintaining the pretense of 'democracy'. I have little doubt that were it thought to be politically practicable, they'd dispense with the whole 'voting' rigamarole altogether - It's hardly as though it serves much purpose as things stand.

There's a cynical explanation and a charitable explanation for their vehement insistence that such an indefensible state of affairs is actually to be applauded rather than condemned.

The cynical explanation is that Paulie and his ilk are the blogosphere's servants to the political classes, throwing as much misdirection around as possible to try and keep you off the scent.

The charitable explanation: That it's borne out of fear of the alternative. In other words:
"Always keep a hold of nurse, for fear of finding something worse"
writ large.

Only nurse isn't a caring guardian, s/he's an avaricious control freak.

Voters: This is what they think of you. Don't let them get away with it!