Friday, December 31, 2010

Tag! You're it...

I've been tagged by JuliaM in old school meme fashion (for more recent meme-age see here) to give an insight into where I do my blogging from.

Unlike the other bloggers revealing themselves so far, I actually do the majority of my blogging at work. There are two main reasons for this:
1. I have two small children, and when they are awake there is no time, and when they are asleep I have neither the will nor the energy.
2. My job provides periods of insane busyness followed by quieter times. Often I formulate a post in my head, and the actual posting bit is done at work. I may also experiment with my new iPhone, but typing a whole post on a touchscreen is I suspect a little tedious.

So, for obvious reasons no picture will be forthcoming.

I have four computer screens, and I use the right-hand one when I blog as my boss sits to my right and he cannot see this one! My desk is relatively tidy, with various work-related papers lying around. Invariably there is an empty coffee cup and a large quantity of empty water bottles. In the recent Xmas season there have been boxes of chocolates all over the shop, helping to maintain a constant feeling of mild nausea, as I have no self-control.

So there you have it!

I tag Anna Raccoon, Leg-Iron and, to go a little further afield, Hyperbole and a Half to show their blogging world to us.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

I am Pornacus

This amazing piece of illiberal bullshit has already been beaten within an inch of its sorry life here, here, here, here and here.

So I won't go over the ins and outs, as it were (hur hur), or depriving adults of the right to look at whatever they want to look at, in the name of thinking of the cheeeeldren.

However, the question of what will constitute porn is an interesting one, and it occured to me that a tricky challenge for the Government would be if every website were to include one "pornographic" image, starting with bloggers putting one on their blog. It strikes me that there would be some interesting freedom of speech issues created, not that the Government give a shit about that.

Hence, the title of the post. I had "I am Spurtacus" initially but Pornacus sounds to me like he could have been around in Roman times, selling carved images of "Senators' Wives" from inside his toga.

So here it is. Pretty mild really, but I suspect it would be enough.

Does this now categorise my site as adult?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Seagulls following the trawler

Cantona has taken a break from shrugging, having a cool beard and "philosophising" to propose an audacious attempt to destabilise the banks.

You know what, part of me wants this to work. Especially when the French Finance Minister and the head of the useless BNP Paribas are saying that state bank bailouts did not "cost the taxpayer anything." I mean, how cretinously stupid do they think people are (not sure they're wrong mind, but would be nice if they attempted to hide it).

I'm sick and tired of money being poured into a failed experiment (the Euro/Eurozone), and I'm sick and tired of the banks being helped over and over again, to the detriment of everyone else. I was against the bailouts at the start, and I'm against them now. Moral hazard is now everywhere, and we have the ridiculous situation where Allied Irish Bank bondholders are threatening to sue if they take a haircut on their investments. They're right to do so in one sense, but the Government and EU have created a situation where bondholders who have basically taken state money are going to sue the same state, for fuck's sake.

It's got to stop. I always thought Cantona was about as much of a philosopher as Les Dennis, but it appears I may have misunderestimated him.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Just fuck off. Seriously.

The Coalition really are just another bunch of nanny-state wankers aren't they. I was cynical about them, but I thought we might see some small changes. But no. Now we have "nudging", because some twat has read a book and decided this is how to run a Government. So today we have this:

How much for this initiative, you may ask? 250 million pounds. £250'000'000. A drop in the ocean compared to the monumental debt mountain of a trillion (can't be arsed to write it out, it's a lot of zeroes), but still a lot of wonga.

Andrew Lansley, who is rapidly becoming the Comical Ali of the Coalition (although it actually isn't that funny), is also expected to
...announce moves to stop sales of cheap alcohol, to launch a consultation on the introduction on plain tobacco packaging, and draw up measures to encourage businesses to do more to allow women to breastfeed at work.
So, the parlous state of the UK economy will be fixed by making booze more expensive, making smoking even cooler (and these more popular) and finally making women unemployable and/or small businesses bankrupt.
A source said: “The Government's tack on public health will switch from 'nannying' under Labour to 'nudging' under the Coalition, with the idea of encouraging people to make healthy decisions on their own without lots of regulation and pressure from Whitehall.
So, it's the same, just a slightly different and arguably more pernicious method. At least Labour didn't ever really try to hide their desperation to control every part of your lives. The Coalitiamong however think people are so stupid that they can be conned into changing behaviour. They're probably right, but there is nothing remotely Conservative about this coalition, and truly nothing Libertarian, despite having an "instinctive libertarian" at its head.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Myth of Contagion

Another good article this morning from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Telegraph. He actually seems to have a reasonably good grasp of what is going on in Europe at the moment, which makes a change from most of the commentary I read.

However, I want to specifically address the idea of "contagion", which anyone that has followed the Greek and Irish bailout stories will have heard as a key reason for the bailouts. Here is a good example, I have pulled out they key quote:
The problems of Ireland's banking system pose a risk of contagion to other Eurozone countries, European Central Bank Governing Council member Yves Mersch warned in a newspaper interview released Wednesday.
To banish this contagion risk, other governments must make the reforms needed "to gain market confidence," and appropriate structures must be set up for the Eurozone as whole, Mersch said.
This "contagion" is not something that can be averted with the application of more money. In reality, the bailouts are fuelling the crisis, because now the market knows that by exerting enough pressure on the bond market, credit spreads will widen to a point where the EU/IMF will intervene, pouring liquidity into that economy via the bond market.

This is not a malicious attack on a currency or economy, but rational behaviour. The fact is that the Greek, Irish, Portuguese and Spanish economies are all in serious trouble, and while Portugal might conceivably be saveable with a third bailout, you can forget it with Spain, it is FAR too big to bail. In fact, as Evans-Pritchard points out:
Saxo Bank said the EU's €440bn (£370bn) bail-out fund would lose its AAA credit rating if Spain needed serious help.
This would require Germany & France to put more money in, which for Merkel in particular would be very hard to explain to voters. She is already rowing hard in the other direction, with her insistence that Irish bondholders must pay for the Irish collapse. Morally she is right perhaps, but it is a very damaging thing to say and suggests to me that she has already given up on actually saving the Euro area as it stands, and is positioning Germany for the future.

The "contagion" is unavoidable, it is a consequence of a single currency and single monetary policy, neither suit any of the countries in the Euro. The bailouts, just like the whole Quantitative Easing debacle, are making everything much, much worse.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

No, Facebook is not the problem here

A very sad story in the Mail (yes I know, a dangerous game taking things out of the Mail, but it seems to be in quite a few other places with pretty much the same content) about a 13-yr-old boy receiving death threats from fellow pupils for posting a facebook tribute to fallen soldiers on Remembrance Day. The offenders have now been suspended and are threatened with expulsion (what exactly do you have to do in order to be immediately expelled, by the way?)

I won't dwell on the horror of what these kids wrote, it's pretty appalling and I would hope the Police do prosecute them. However, the principal of the school made an incredible statement utterly missing the point of what is happening. Here it is:
Sidney Stringer Academy’s principal, Wendy Thomas, said Facebook was an increasing concern for schools. She said the children have been told to remove the comments from the site.
She said: ‘Darius is the victim of bullying. All the students involved have told me they did not mean what they said but they will learn a hard lesson from this.
‘Facebook is a big concern for schools and we urge all parents to monitor what their children say on the site. As soon as the school was notified about the comments on Monday we interviewed the pupils.
Facebook was an increasing concern for schools? Qué? What about 6 illiterate, hate-filled children threatening another child with knives? That would be my primary concern.

Facebook did not threaten this child. I remember at school a massive older kid organising a fight with the smallest kid in my year. We didn't have mobiles, but the small kid was bricking it by the time the fight came around that afternoon, he'd got the message about what was going to happen to him loud and clear (he actually acquitted himself pretty well in the end but that's by the by).

Facebook does make it a little easier to send the message, as do mobiles, but bullying was just as pernicious and nasty 20 years ago as it is now. The difference is that no-one takes responsibility for it, neither parents nor teachers. Wendy Thomas has found an out, a way to escape facing the appalling behaviour going on at her school, and she's jumped on it. You could not send a worse message.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The worst thing is, 98% of people don't give a shit

JuliaM got there first with the first bit of my post, which was Britain needing a reboot. Yes it does, and badly, although I'm not sure she quite expressed the reasons I see for this (although I agree entirely with hers).

The stories she catalogues are just a tiny slice of the things that occur daily in the UK, and the worst and most egregious is of course the extraordinary decision to find Paul Chambers guilty.

This has been covered by people that have more closely followed the story, see here and here.

But what really fucks me off is, no-one gives a shit. No-one. It's only had any coverage at all because of the sterling work of Jack of Kent (amongst others tbf), and I know if I mention this to anyone I'll get a blank look. Because people do not understand the wider implications.

Although I have no plans to, I do understand the motivations of those bloggers that have recently quit. I do see how shouting in what feels like a massive vacuum becomes tedious.

So, what to do? Getting people to care is not easy, but this seems to be a good start. The reviewer is a bit of a twat clearly, but getting a documentary about the real scale of wasted money and UK debt might kickstart something. If people can stop seeing the Government as a cross between nanny and all-knowing uncle, and instead as a thieving, parasitical waste of space and money, maybe it will all come tumbling down and we can have some sort of a reboot, even just a political one.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sarah Palin's Video

Sarah Palin has produced a campaign video on the back of Republican and Tea Party success in the recent US mid-term elections. You can see it here, it's pretty rousing stuff and short, which is always a good thing.

The BBC ran a short piece of comment on it, which was relatively balanced, such as a BBC article on Sarah Palin can be. However, one bit really struck me:
Sarah Palin's public appearances are ruthlessly controlled, consisting mainly of set-piece speeches and slickly-produced commercials.
Well, I cannot think of one single politician about whom you could not say that. Obama? Check. iDave? Check. BoJo (despite what he pretends)? Check. In fact, my impression is that Sarah Palin is more than capable of engaging with people spontaneously. This lady was very hostile, and Sarah Palin was polite and courteous throughout.
If she ever launches a formal bid for the presidency, she will probably, at some point, have to engage more seriously with what she loves to call the "lamestream media".
Well, if she calls the Mongstream Media the lamestream media then that again suggests to me that she is much smarter than people realise, because the MSM and especially the BBC is a pile of shit, as well we all know.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

AGW - is the tide turning? Probably not

This article seems to me to encapsulate the climate change "debate" so perfectly.

On the one hand, a group of 166 scientists have called for the repeal of the Climate Act, on the quite correct grounds that it is a colossal waste of money, thanks in no small part to wind farms. (See DK's excellent blog for a thorough dismantling of the wind farm idiocy). They also ask for some kind of proof for the following ten statements:
1. Variations in global climate in the last hundred years are significantly outside the natural range experienced in previous centuries.
2. Humanity’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse gases’ (GHG) are having a dangerous impact on global climate.
3. Computer-based models can meaningfully replicate the impact of all of the natural factors that may significantly influence climate.
4. Sea levels are rising dangerously at a rate that has accelerated with increasing human GHG emissions, thereby threatening small islands and coastal communities.
5. The incidences of malaria and other infectious diseases are now increasing due to recent climate changes;
6. Human society and natural ecosystems cannot adapt to foreseeable climate change as they have done in the past.
7. Worldwide glacier retreat, and sea ice melting in polar regions, is unusual and related to increases in human GHG emissions.
8. Polar bears and other Arctic and Antarctic wildlife are unable to adapt to anticipated local climate change effects, independent of the causes of those changes.
9. Hurricanes, other tropical cyclones and associated extreme weather events are increasing in severity and frequency.
10. Data recorded by ground-based stations are a reliable indicator of global surface temperature trends.
It seems to me that more and more people are turning to the possibility that AGW or whatever you want to call it is a myth, or at least unproven. Fingers crossed.

On the other hand, you have the predictable response from a special interest group:
Bob Ward, Policy and Communications Director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, said the group misunderstood the point of science, which is to disprove theories.
Which seems to be exactly what they are attempting.
He said the UK legislation was overwhelmingly backed by Parliament and is leading the world.
Politicians think so? Well then, job done. What with all their qualifications and their track record of not fucking things up over and over and over again.
“Nobody thinks climate change is not a problem. The discussion has moved on to what is the best way of tackling the problem and making a transition to low carbon growth,” he said. “These guys are a remnant group of dinosaurs trying to argue something while frankly the public and political debate has moved on.”
Nobody? What not even these 166 scientists? Or me? Or DK? Or James Delingpole? Or Anthony Watts? Or maybe Hal Lewis?

What Bob Ward thinks we don't realise is this. His job exists because of a £12million grant from the Grantham Foundation. If the Climate Act were to be repealed in the UK, I suspect Jeremy & Hannelore Grantham would have a long hard think about the effectiveness of this grant, and maybe cut the funding off.

The final gem is this:
Meanwhile a complaint against an Oxfam advert warning of the risk of climate change was not upheld.
The advert read: "People dying thanks to climate change is a long way off. About 5000 miles, give or take.”
The complainant claimed that it had not been proven that people are drying (sic) as a result of climate change.
However the Advertising Standards Authority did not uphold their complaint.
Well, I suppose global warming would cause people to dry, good news for Nivea. But assuming they mean dying, it isn't "proven" at all. It doesn't matter though, because since "the discussion has moved on" I guess proof is no longer required. Mr. Ward must be pleased the media at least is still on message.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Personal Responsibility? Anyone? No?

Welcome to another nauseating display of weasel words and dodging of respsonsibilty.

I first saw this Daily Fail article, so I was sceptical, but then I found it written more or less the same in the Telegraph. It seems the mother of Chanella "Sasha" Jones, who was stabbed to death by her father, warned the police on 102 occasions about her worries.
"But despite Fisher’s history of violence going back to his teens – and him being wanted for a serious assault by another police force – officers failed to take the reports seriously. Four officers are now facing disciplinary action within the force."
Let's have some guff about best practice shall we? Tee up some diversity refresher training eh? Should help.
Tom Davies, the IPCC commissioner for Wales, ...added that the officers had not accorded with “best practice and policy” for dealing with reports of possible domestic abuse.
Some fairly large-scale incompetence going on here.
One Pc who did take the allegations seriously failed to notice that Fisher had a police record and was wanted for a serious assault by another police force.
It's OK though.
Despite the numerous failings, the IPCC concluded that no individual errors “had any impact on Fisher’s later actions when he murdered Sasha”.
Right, so him being arrested for the pending assault charge would have made no difference? Thank God. Otherwise how would those poor officers sleep at night?

I wonder what a senior figure thinks of all this?
Ms Jackie Roberts, Deputy Chief Constable of Dyfed Powys Police, said: “Firstly I would like to express my condolences to Sasha’s family for their sad loss.
Note the choice of words. "Sad loss". That's like when your fucking puppy gets run over. Not when police incompetence means a 15-year-old is stabbed to death by her dad.
“We have noted the findings of the independent IPCC investigation and acknowledge that there are areas in relation to the historic involvement with the family which could have been dealt with better. The IPCC acknowledge that the historic individual errors are not suggested to have influenced the tragic outcome in this case.
Ass well and truly covered, moving on.
“We are committed to follow up the recommendations made from both policy and operational perspectives which will assist us in delivering a high quality of service and making improvements where necessary.
Whoo, buzzword bingo, someone's got her eye on the Chief Constable's comfy chair. "High quality of service?" You're not running a call centre for Christ's sake.
"The officers identified as having dealt with previous incidents will be supported in terms of advice and guidance on dealing with such matters and the lessons learnt communicated accordingly.”
I am speechless. No taking of responsibility, no actual apology, just a sorry for your loss platitude and move on. I hate litigation and I know the taxpayer pays but I hope she sues the ass off of everyone she can.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Incredibly Depressing

This has knocked the wind out of me completely. I just don't think people like him will exist once the veterans are all dead, because it's just too fucking dangerous to try and help people.

Bloody hell.

I cannot think of one single thing to say, except I hope whoever did this falls down a manhole cover, breaks his legs, and isn't found for days.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Common Sense in Unlikely Places

A few cast members from Glee have apparently caused somewhat of a storm by posing as raunchy schoolgirls for GQ. So far so irrelevant.

However, I was struck by a surprising nugget of common sense and personal responsibility hidden away:
She questioned the fact that young children might have access to the magazine and the raunchy photos saying: 'If your eight-year-old has a copy of our GQ cover in hand, again I am sorry. But I would have to ask, how on earth did it get there?'
Well indeed. Bravo to you Dianna Agron, not just a pretty face perhaps.

It's OK though, there's a pressure group to right ship:
The Parents Television Council released a statement condemning GQ for publishing the pictures.
The what? Maybe if they spent more time parenting and less time worrying about what's on TV they might have fewer ishoos?
'It is disturbing that GQ, which is explicitly written for adult men, is sexualising the actresses who play high school-aged characters on Glee in this way. 'It borders on paedophilia. Sadly, this is just the latest example of the overt sexualisation of young girls in entertainment.'
It borders on pedophilia to show girls in their 20s wearing revealing outfits? In a mainstream adult men's magazine? So Peter Phile will be looking at this rather than staring into playgrounds at actual, er, children?

Bollocks. Still, well done Ms. Agron for at least attempting to suggest that parents might take responsibility for what their children look at.

Leg-Iron's Booky-Wook

Massive congratulations to Leg-Iron for the impending publication of his book.

His collection of short stories was outstanding. Buy them both!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why the cuts won't be enough

This is a superb article from Simon Heffer, on why today's cuts simply won't be sufficient. He picks up on two major problems, namely:

1. Certain budgets are ring-fenced. The NHS and Education, two of the most wasteful black holes, are too sensitive to be touched, showing that the Coalition are indeed pussies. Furthermore, the ludicrous decision to ring-fence overseas aid is truly without merit at a time when the UK debt mountain is piling up by the day.

2. There is no room whatsoever for tax cuts at any stage. If the Chancellor is serious about stimulating the economy, he needs to get people spending, not take money out of the economy in order to reduce its impact with bad decisions by taxing the "wealthy". Angry Teen has posted on this element many time so I direct you to his house for further musings.

However, Mr. Heffer misses the Belgian mammoth in the room. His Grace has eloquently posted on this topic today, borrowing some words from Dan Hannan in the process. Hannan sums it up, so I shall do the same:
Britain’s net contribution to the EU is rising from £6.4 billion this year to £8.3 billion in 2011-12 and £10.3 billion in 2015. But, of course, the net figure is misleading: the EU may spend some of this money in the UK, but rarely does so on things we would have chosen for ourselves. Much of the moolah goes to a privileged class of EU contractors and consultants; some goes on straightforward propaganda. Our gross contribution is rising from £14 billion to £19 billion – enough to cut council tax by half, take fourpence off income tax or pay of our Olympic debt in a single year. Here are some vivid ways of visualising the sum.
The Coalition do not give a shit about you, anymore than Labour did. Until this torrent of money flowing from the UK to the EU stops, you can count on that. This is what happens when Cast-Iron Dave makes a promise.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How much meat to eat?

You know what I'd like this morning. I'd like to know what Friends of the Earth and the Soiled Association think about eating meat. What's that? They think I should eat less? Wow, that's come out of left field. Let's go deeper shall we (dream within a dream within a dream).

I wonder if it will save an arbitrary amount of lives?
Cutting meat to 3 meals a week 'will save 45,000 lives'
Hurray, box ticked. What about an arbitrary amount of money pulled out of a researcher's arse?
...and save the NHS £1.2 billion each year
Sweet. Should pay for a whole bunch of middle managers. I'm excited now. But I do wonder if perhaps it's not better to eat more expensive meat, since the Soil Association do after all basically represent organic farmers?
The University of Oxford study said processed products, such as cheap burgers or sausages, were particularly bad for people’s health because of high levels of salt and fat.
Ah-hah, salt and fat. Shouldn't eat those. Bad. I know this because someone told me. Can't remember who. But it is true.

This would all be so much easier if I had some awesome celebrities to guide me. Perhaps that actress that had a cameo in Friends might have something to say?
Helen Baxendale, the Friends actress and mother of three, said she has already changed her family’s diet. She called for new legislation to encourage more people to cut down on meat and cut subsidies to ‘factory farmers’ in favour of farms where animals are put out to graze. “We’ve switched to less and better quality meat since we heard about the damaging impact factory farming is having on the planet – now I want the Government to play its part," she said.
Well done love. Reduce subsidies to cheaper food, and make expensive food slightly less expensive, thus fucking poorer people over. You thespians are so right-on.

One thing that's beyond doubt though. Those eeeeevil corporations actually enjoy raping the world's resources. Capitalism provides no incentive for big business to address these "issues".
PepsiCo, that produces Walker Crisps and Quaker Oats, is already bringing in a number of new farming techniques to cut carbon emissions by half over the next five years on the 350 farms they use around the UK.
Measures include using computer programmes known as ‘i-crop’ that mean only a certain amount of water and fertiliser is used.
I'll be damned. Helen Baxendale said we needed the Government to be involved, and yet it seems that large corporations are innovating all the time to make farming more efficient. I don't get it.

Who should I believe?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Director of Climate Change

Here is an ad for the post of Director of Climate Change at the World Economic Forum.

Aside from the fact that it might as well be for the Director of Flat Earth and Fairy Dust, just read it. It's gibberish. There is such a slurry of cliches, such a cesspipe of management-speak, and in my view the more management bullshit something contains the less likely it is that a) the person that wrote it knows what they're talking about and b) that it will be important.

I was going to pull out some key phrases, but fuck it, here's the whole thing:
You will be responsible for the ongoing delivery and future development of the World Economic Forum’s Climate Change Initiative. In doing so, you will provide content direction and leadership to an existing team and project portfolio, and you will develop and evolve the work to ensure sustained impact and relevance in the wider low-carbon and green growth agenda.
You have an advanced university degree and extensive senior management experience in a relevant corporation, government and/or international organization. You have an exceptional understanding of the global climate change and low-carbon growth agenda, particularly in infrastructure investment and related finance matters. You also have a strong understanding of the key strategic and geopolitical issues relating to climate change, and know how to work with multiple stakeholders to address them. You are comfortable engaging with business leaders, government officials and leading experts involved in climate change and related matters, many of whom would consider you a peer.
You have a strong focus on delivery to tight deadlines, coupled with excellent leadership, interpersonal and networking skills. You are an energetic, hardworking and positive team player who can inspire an exceptional team. You have excellent communication skills and a perfect command of written and spoken English; other languages are a plus.
If you possess the relevant qualifications and background and if you thrive in a highly demanding environment, please apply.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Moral Vacuums

A comment on Dan Hannan's latest post triggered a thought for me, as it was perceptive but should be extended much further.

Here it is:
"Yes what exactly are Conservative MPs supposed to believe ? The answer appears to be NOTHING..."

Well yes. Having said that, what politician does seem to believe in anything other than self-interest and working out which way the wind blows? It was always like this, you might argue, but I think there are a couple of big differences which make it so much worse now.

1. Everyone has moved towards what they perceive to be the Centre. Blair started this by detoxing Old Labour, and CMD has jumped on the bandwagon. Tribalism used to mean supporting your party's policies in the face of any evidence to the contrary. Now it means supporting the colour of your party's rosette, while ultimately doing the same thing as everyone else.

2. The death of quality journalism. Journalists used to hold politicians to account. Now they just vomit up whatever press release their MP chums have sent them, while whining about how crap bloggers are. The BBC has a lot to answer for here, I came across this nugget this morning:
In 2007, a BBC Trust report called Safeguarding Impartiality in the 21st Century said: “Climate change is another subject where dissenters can be unpopular … The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus. But these dissenters (or even sceptics) will still be heard, as they should, because it is not the BBC’s role to close down this debate.”
Words fail me.

3. Science and the reporting of science following journalism down the toilet. Here's a great example. This article suggests cancer is a modern invention as little trace of it can be found in ancient mummies. Nowhere does the report say something like "Of course, this could be due to the lower life expectancy of 25 to 50, since the median age of cancer diagnosis is in the 60s". I'm not saying this proves that the report's conclusions are wrong (although that is my opinion), but there is no rigour anymore, no balance. Facts are manipulated to fit theories, and to chase money.

Which brings me to the end. No-one seems to believe in integrity, fairness or balance. Politics (including the quango and EU farces), science and journalism have become a chase for funding at all costs. It's exactly the same in the US, anyone who has any interest in where we're headed should listen to Dan Carlin's Common Sense podcasts. This is exactly how I feel about UK politics, just change the names.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Short Story - Sleep Asylum

Sleep Asylum

This story is based on an incredibly vivid nightmare, with a few additions. I needed to write it down to get rid of it. Your feedback is very welcome!

I never should have followed the little boy. He just looked so sad, there was so clearly something wrong. He was rushing into a building, tears pouring down his dirty face, clothes torn, it just didn’t look right. No-one else seemed to notice him, but I did.

When I got inside the building, it turned out to be a bank. Horrible colours, orange walls. People milling around, all seemed normal. The boy rushed across the foyer, people around him ignoring him, as small boys are so often ignored. He charged up the stairs and vanished from view.

Since the Bank only had 2 floors including the ground floor, I decided to take the lift to follow him up. The lift was old and worn, and to my surprise had buttons for 5 floors. I supposed this must be the staff elevator, would explain why it was in such poor condition. On impulse, I pressed for floor 2, guessing that if the boy wanted to hide he’d keep going past the 1st floor where I imagined there would be lots of people.

The lift door opened again on floor 2. Same horrible colours, but this floor was in real disrepair. I saw a flash of movement up ahead, and heard a door slamming. I jogged down the corridor past the peeling walls and flickering lights. I could hear distant voices, women laughing, and I suddenly realised how ridiculous this whole thing was. I was running round some sort of disused maintenance floor of a bank chasing after a little boy I didn’t know and had maybe even imagined. I turned round to leave when I realised I could hear crying.

I turned back towards the noise, which appeared to be coming from the end of the corridor, where I’d seen the movement earlier. As I walked down the corridor, my feet slipped on the thick layer of dirt and damp on the floor. Suddenly, the door at the end of the corridor opened and the little boy from earlier appeared. He was about 6, with an old-fashioned haircut and a grimy, ripped shirt and shorts on.

“Hey! What’s your name? Are you lost?” I asked him. He looked at me blankly, and then coughed into his sleeve, a harsh, hacking sound. The boy took a slow step towards me, then another. Unnerved, I backed off at the same pace, unable to tear myself away from his gaze.

“Who the hell are you?” I flinched at the man’s voice behind me, and span around to see who it was, my heart pounding and bile rising in my throat. A dark-haired man in his 40s stood 3 paces away from me. He was filthy too, and his lumberjack shirt so dirty that the pattern was barely visible. “Are you Peter?” he shouted at me, spit flying from his lips. He seemed agitated and terribly nervous.

I took a step back and bumped into the small boy. I jumped again, and found myself flattened against the wall, utterly terrified without really knowing why.

“Are you Peter?” the man asked, this time more calmly. “No, my name’s Steve” I replied, in what I hoped was a calming voice.

“Well where the fuck’s Peter then?” he yelled back. The man screamed then stormed off down the corridor. The little boy looked at him blankly then turned back to me. I swallowed, trying to compose myself, and asked the boy “who are you? What are you doing here?”

The boy took a step toward me, then another, and reached for my hand. I watched as my hand moved towards his, it seemed as if it wasn’t my hand at all as I felt as if I had no control whatsoever. He took my hand in his, and his fingers were ice cold. He slid his hand up my bare forearm, and as his arm brushed against mine, it was cold too, like meat in a freezer.

Suddenly, everything seemed to clear, as if I had been drunk and was suddenly sober. The boy smelt terrible. Not like he needed a wash, but rotten inside. His lips were blue and bloodless, and I knew deep down that a corpse was holding my hand.

I bolted in panic, yanking my hand away from the boy’s and bursting down the corridor where the man had run off what seemed like an eternity ago. At the end was a red door, and I ran into it at full speed, expecting it to be locked now. To my surprise and relief it flew open, but as I ran through it I realised it was a dead end. The only thing in the room was a mirror and a light hanging from the ceiling.

The door closed behind me, and the little boy stood there, somehow utterly innocent and horribly menacing all at once. A strange idea hit me. If he really was dead, maybe if he saw himself in the mirror, he would realise. I grabbed him and lifted him up in front of the round, cracked mirror.

The boy shut his eyes. I shouted in his ear “you’re dead! Do you hear me? Look at yourself! Look at yourself and see what you are!” He wriggled in my arms, but his eyes popped open and he looked straight into his own eyes.

Nothing happened. I put the ice cold, dead boy down. He stood looking at me blankly again, and behind him the door opened. In walked the man from before, this time with two women in nurse’s uniforms. The nurses were stunningly beautiful, with long black hair and young, firm bodies. Yet they were dead too. The smell drove into me, and the cold icy skin seemed to glisten under the harsh, flickering lights.

“It’s Peter. Look, it’s Peter” said the man to the nurses. “Bill, it’s not Peter, Peter’s gone, you know that”, replied the taller of the two. She turned to me, and her breath seemed to freeze my skin as she spoke. “You’ll have to excuse Bill, he’s not really quite right. He wouldn’t be here otherwise though would he?” At this she cackled, as did her companion, while Bill looked uncomprehending.

“Who are you? Where am I?” I yelled at the nurses.

The second nurse, whose grimy nametag read Claudia, shook her head and said, “It’s always the same. Denial is so wearing.” She moved closer to me and put her hands on my shoulders.

“You’re dead like us Steve. You’ll live here now. It’s not much, but it’s what it is.”

Bill giggled dumbly, a sound like fetid water bubbling up from somewhere deep inside him.

My paralysis broke and I ran like never before. Charging past the group of dead, I ran back down the corridor towards the stairs. I knew that if I could just get back to the bank, this would all stop. A giggle from behind made me gag, and I looked over my shoulder to see Bill running behind me, as if this was some bizarre game.

I shot down the stairs, taking them 3 or 4 at a time, and in no time I was back in the bank with its orange walls and warm people. As I charged through the foyer, no-one paid me any attention at all.

“You can’t stay awake forever you know”, came a woman’s voice from behind me. I looked back to see the first nurse stood a few paces back, and I skidded to a halt.

“What do you mean?” I screamed back at her. “What will happen to me?”

She shook her head. “You know,” she said sadly.

She was right, I do know. I type this in my room with shaking hands, with Bill, the nurses and the little boy watching me. No-one can see me, so I don’t know if anyone can read this.

Maybe if anyone can, it means they’re like me already. I don’t know why this is happening, but my eyes grow heavy, and soon I will fall asleep.

13th October 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

More HMRC Failure

The rolling, relentlessly ugly car crash that is the HMRC just keeps embarrassing itself more and more.

This, bear in mind, is the same organisation that felt it would be a good idea to collect gross income and distribute the net, post-tax amount, as a way of "simplifying PAYE".

Here are some choice nuggets to feed your ire, emphasis mine:
Millions more people could be caught up in the HMRC tax chaos than first thought, its chief executive admitted yesterday.
Ah yes, the chief executive. Because HMRC is a company accountable to, wait, wait, no sorry I can't find anyone.
Dame Lesley Strathie warned the PAYE problems could continue for at least two years, with hundreds of thousands more people falling victim to mistakes. She revealed the whole fiasco had cost Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs almost £170million.
Clearly not made a Dame for her grasp of simple facts. This hasn't cost HMRC anything, because HMRC do not have any fucking money! It's taxpayer money that you are wasting, losing and fucking up with. Which is why your position of CEO is utterly irrelevant.
Dame Lesley disclosed that the fiasco had lost the HMRC £167million – and she admitted that the organisation had known about the problem before the election but had not said anything.
Why am I not even surprised. It's beyond the tail wagging the dog, it's like the turd wagging the tail wagging the frigging dog.
But she added that it would not be until 2012 that ‘we still see a stable system’ – meaning that wrong codings could still be being sent out two years from now.
No, we won't. No govt department will ever have a stable system because procurement is such a cluster-fuck and everyone working there is so wilfully ignorant.

And why the fuck is it still called Her Majesty's anything? Can we not just be honest and accept that they are the collections agency for the Government and name it more honestly? Any suggestions?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The pointlessness of judges

Fuck this.

With this decision, and the hundreds of other appallingly inadequate sentences and prosecutions that are doing all kinds of damage to parts of the UK, the judicial system has jumped the shark.

If this was my son, then very bad things would happen to these three savages. I don't say that lightly. I don't believe in vigilantism or an eye for an eye for its own sake. However, when an old lady needs the support of a brilliant, determined blogger and a journalist to avoid prosecution for dropping cigarette ash, and three thugs walk free with a suspended sentence for torturing an autistic boy for 3 days, something is badly broken.
"Judge Geake said he had taken into account the attackers’ ages, remorse and the fact they had pleaded guilty."
Remorse? You can't show remorse for something carried out over 3 days. Remorse is lashing out and wishing you hadn't. This was a sustained attack on someone who couldn't defend himself. And as for pleading guilty, they had footage on their own mobile phones of the attack. What were they going to do? Deny it?

Judge Geake, I would not usually wish ill on anyone, but I hope something similar befalls your family. Then we can see how important remorse and pleading guilty really are for sentencing.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Condom Win

Quote of the goddamn year here!!

Fennell was also questioned about reports of condoms blocking toilets in the athletes' village.
He replied: "If that is happening, it shows there is use of condoms and I think that's a very positive story, that athletes are being responsible."

Mike Fennell, I salute you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Nanny-statism in action, as the "Chief Executive", whatever the hell that means in a charity, of Drinkaware leaped into action to make sure an opportunity to show his contempt for other people was seized with both hands.

The article is fairly innocent, with research suggesting that light drinking by a pregnant woman has zero impact on the unborn baby. Seems pretty sensible to me, getting hammered every day probably not a good idea but a couple of glasses here and there not a major issue. Certainly did my kids no harm, but then I wasn't the pregnant one ho ho ho.

However, up pops Chris Sorek from Drinkaware (emphasis mine):
He said: "Despite these findings, it is important to remember that 'light drinking' can mean different things to different people.
Ah-hah, so perhaps you should spend all your time telling pregnant women exactly how much they should drink. Oh wait, you do? On teh interwebz and everything? So what's the problem?
"There is a risk that if pregnant women take this research as a green light to drink a small amount, they could become complacent, drink more than they think they are and inadvertently cause harm to their unborn child.
Yes, pregnant women are famed for their complacency. I had to keep reminding my wife she was pregnant, as the responsibility of carrying a tiny person around inside you for 9 months really meant nothing. You twat.
"Excessive drinking during pregnancy can carry serious consequences and lifelong damage to children and should be avoided."
Which is of course irrelevant to this article, which is very clearly stating that light drinking is not harmful. Bugger off Mr. Sorek, you add less than nothing to the debate.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blogroll Updated

Have realised my blogroll was woefully out of date missing as it was amongst others JuliaM's essential Ambush Predator and the excellent Captain Ranty.

Fixed now!

Sport & Trafficking? Again?

A terribly familiar tale of eeeevil traffickers and eeeeeevil men profitting from the misery of innocent women at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Forgive my scepticism, but we were given these scare stories for the South Africa World Cup, and in the end absolutely nothing happened. Unsurprisingly, as a quick Google search shows, these stories were wildly inflated by pressure groups whose funding no doubt depends on the problem existing in the first place.

So, who funds the Impulse NGO Network? Well, a quick skim of their annual report from 2008-209 shows that, of their 14mios Rupee income, about 700k came from contributions/donations. 5mios however came from the child rights anti-trafficking initiative, which I assume is actually the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking.

Admittedly, 14million Indian Rupees is bugger-all in real money, but it is good to see that the world over, NGOs are inflating statistics in order to keep receiving grant money for inflated problems.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Common Sense from Canada

Not much to add to this article really.
"Ontario judge overturns Canada anti-prostitution laws"
It's ludicrous that these laws were passed, and depressing that it takes the sex workers themselves to stand up for themselves against people who supposedly have their best interests at heart.

Harperson, take note, not everyone is as stupid and easily fooled as you seem to think.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bank of England's Arrogance

Here is a particularly outrageous piece of arrogant, "let them eat cake" style bullshit from the inept Bank of England, headlined "Savers told to stop moaning and start spending".

The whole thing is worth reading, but to pick out the most offensive parts of the Deputy Governor's views (emphasis mine):
"Older households could afford to suffer because they had benefited from previous property price rises, Charles Bean, the deputy governor, suggested. They should "not expect" to live off interest, he added, admitting that low returns were part of a strategy."
That's right, the Bank of England's strategy includes keeping returns on savings low, so the responsible ones get screwed and the profligate mongs are rewarded.
Mr Bean said he "fully sympathised".
No you don't, you couldn't give a shit as you've already made clear.
But he continued: "Savers shouldn't necessarily expect to be able to live just off their income in times when interest rates are low. It may make sense for them to eat into their capital a bit." He added: "Very often older households have actually benefited from the fact that they've seen capital gains on their houses."
So they must be punished for benefiting from a housing bubble created in no small part by, oh that's right, the Government and its lapdog Central Bank.
Mr Bean said that encouraging Britons to spend was one reason why the Bank had cut interest rates. They have been held at 0.5 per cent for 18 months, hitting rates offered on savings accounts. The strategy had led to Mervyn King, the governor, receiving many letters of complaint. But it was designed to return the economy to a reasonable level of activity as quickly as possible, he said. "The faster we can achieve that, the sooner interest rates will get back to more normal levels."
Ah-hah, I believe this is what Al-Jahom would call cognitive dissonance.
So, Mr. Bean, what you are saying is, if everyone spends instead of saving, that will enable the Bank to raise interest rates, making saving more attractive, reducing how much people spend. What about the older people who have spent all their money? Now they can benefit from the higher rates they have helped generate.

Fail, Mr. Bean. Fail.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Reflections on Obo

As everyone already knows, Obo has hung up his blogging and tweeting boots. I am gutted, and this is why.

A year or so ago, I stumbled across a couple of blogs, which really caught my interest. One was Old Holborn's, and one was Obo's. I'd never really seen anything like these before, a mixture of excellent writing, a clear viewpoint on the world, and in Obo's case some extraordinarily amusing language. I got hooked, first passively and eventually enough to start my own blog, such as it is.

From these two blogs, I have learnt about being a libertarian, and that I am one. I learnt about anarchy. I now have 50 blogs in my feed burner, most of whom have directly or indirectly come from these two. In short, I learnt a huge amount.

So Obo, I for one am very sad that you're stopping. But if it's any small consolation, you inspired me to start, and in a very small and much less impressive way, I shall carry on learning and writing.

Thanks very much.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cable's Idiocy - Part errr...I've lost count

Vince Cable is an idiot. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, that I write these words. Once again he shows himself to be a grandstanding nutter with virtually no understanding of business, banking, economics or indeed anything.

Here he is, ranting like a good 'un.

This quote is worth showing in full, emphasis mine:

"The Government's agenda, is not one of laissez-faire. Markets are often irrational or rigged," he will say. "So I am shining a harsh light into the murky world of corporate behaviour. Why should good companies be destroyed by short-term investors looking for a speculative killing, while their accomplices in the City make fat fees? Why do directors forget their duties when a fat cheque is waved before them? Capitalism takes no prisoners and kills competition where it can."

Ah-hah. Capitalism kills competition. So, what do you suggest then Vince? Oh, nothing. Just ranting then.

"Mr. Cable will tell the conference that he believes bankers pose more of a threat than trade unions."

This is the Business Secretary speaking. Words fail me.

As an aside, this whole episode also proves beyond doubt that no tax is ever repealed. EVER. This bonus tax will stay forever, and the Coalition will show themselves to be every bit as anti-business as their predecessors. Any politician that says a tax is temporary is a liar, and should be called out as such.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Missing The Point

Once again, technology has served to confuse people as to the real issues.

This guy is a sick bastard, no doubt about it, but the comment at the end of article by the police detective in charge of the case, is illuminating. "He said: 'This is terrible, and this is what I'll say about the Internet and cell phones and texting and sexting and Twittering and blogging - this is very, very dangerous.'"

The guy sexually assaulted his girlfriend, who was passed out from too much booze. While doing so, he broadcast it via a webcam. From reading the article, and the statement from the detective, you might think the webcam piece was the issue. But in reality, all the webcam did was get the guy caught, and presumably make a conviction a lot easier.

There is nothing inherently dangerous about the Internet, or sexting, or blogging even (god knows why that is in there). It's like saying "talking to someone you don't know in a bar is very, very dangerous". It's not, unless you are careless or extremely unlucky. This man is dangerous, that's all, and the Phoenix police should be pleased that his idiotic broadcast of his crime enabled them to catch him without the victim even knowing what had happened.

Once again, technology takes the blame, rather than this pervert simply using technology to express his perversion slightly differently. It's very ignorant.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Coalition fiddling while the UK burns

Sometimes I wonder if I've just made up in my own head the disastrous state of the UK economy, the monumental debt burden the country is labouring under, the straining welfare state and the unsustainable and unfillable black hole in the state pension.

I wonder because I keep reading shit like this, where the Coalition show their true socialist colours.

Or perhaps this, which Al Jahom tears apart here.

Then there is this colossal pile of horseshit, which Dizzy has already shovelled into the toilet where it belongs.

I could go on and on, check out AmbushPredator's daily demolition of local news idiocy as well, it never ends.

However, the point is, there are some really serious concerns around the future of the UK. Anyone who has children should be genuinely worried about what world they are growing up in. Yet all the Coalition can manage is a relentless slurry of ill-thought out, pointless ways to further harass the UK population.

Meanwhile, the lapdog media provide the mouthpiece for this flow of turds, without ever really posing any difficult questions, like exactly what the fuck are you going to do about the UK deficit Cleggeron?

This article may be the next shoe to drop, and if it does, then the UK really will be in the shit.

Part of me almost hopes it does, so people might actually wake up. However I fear this will just be yet another opportunity for the State to expand and take more control of people's lives and money.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Fairtrade Delusion

The Adam Smith Institute have an absolutely brilliant report on the failings of Fairtrade on their website. It's a couple of years old, but seems to be doing the Twitter rounds today, and I'd not seen it before.

Since this is a massive bugbear of mine, I direct you to the report and encourage you to read it in full.

Report is here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Murky Waters

Sion Jenkins has been refused compensation for the time he spent in jail for his step-daughter's murder. The rationale that the Ministry of Justice has given is that "For the purposes of paying compensation, the applicant must be shown to be 'clearly innocent'."

I'm not sure that I'm very comfortable with this. Ultimately, guilt or innocence should be black and white. If you are guilty beyond reasonable doubt, then you are guilty. Otherwise you are innocent. It seems here that the Ministry of Justice are saying - "he's innocent, but we don't think he is so we're not going to compensate him for 6 lost years of his life".

I don't want to speculate on his guilt by the way, not my place as I haven't followed the case, but this to me seems like a slippery slope. It's the same logic of using ASBOs to jail people without trial - someone other than a jury finding people guilty or innocent. He may be a shit. He may have killed her. But since he has been acquitted, he should be compensated for his time spent in jail for something the court has decided he did not do.

The whole thing reminds me a bit of the civil case following the OJ Simpson trial. No doubt that if the police had done things differently, OJ would be in jail, if not already executed. But they didn't, and as such the court was obliged to acquit him. Subsequently, a civil court ruled against him and he paid a massive compensation claim to the victims' families. This again sits badly with me - if you're ruled innocent by a court of law, no other court should be able to dispute that verdict. It's not about whether he did it. It's about the principle of guilt and innocence being decided by a jury alone.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Weakness Personified

No doubt the story about Social Housing no longer being "for life" will have people up in arms about "rights", and the nasty party trampling on the poor and needy once again.

However, the key element in this piece is the following:

The Prime Minister said that any changes would not, however, apply to people already in social housing. The Conservatives pledged in their general election manifesto to protect the rights of existing tenants.

What. The. Fuck?

I've struggled to find exact numbers for the amount of people in Social Housing, but it seems about 18% of households are classified that way. I suspect Social Housing would hold more people on average than Owner Occupied housing, but let's say for the sake of argument that every household has the same amount of people. UK population is roughly 60 million, so that's 11 million people already in Social Housing. All of whom will have that housing for life, and indeed are allowed to give this unlimited tenancy to their children when they die.

So what on earth is the point of this policy? The relatively tiny amount of new people demanding social housing will have fixed contracts, while 11 million people get to keep it regardless of status and salary.

This coalition is so pathetic, so terrified of offending anyone and actually making any changes. Obo's right, they're utterly useless and no better than the last lot.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Vince Cable is wrong and dangerous

A lot of people have gone from seeing Vince Cable as the messiah to seeing him as a charlatan that predicted 14 of the last 3 recessions. However, I think people see him as mostly harmless. This is wrong, he is a dangerous idiot who simply does not understand anything about finance or economics.

This latest piece of lunacy proves it.

To summarise what this madman believes:
1. Banks are not lending enough, or as he puts it, "acting in the national interest".
2. Banks must lend more.
3. In order for them to lend more, bonuses should be linked to lending levels.

Now, there is little doubt that one of the many reasons for the economic crisis we are in was utterly irresponsible lending by the banks. There were more egregious sins, mostly committed by the Government, but the banks got themselves into an awful hole by lending carelessly to people that could not pay it back. Much of this was also forced upon them by the Government, much like in the US.

As a direct result, banks are now being ordered to shore up their Tier 1 capital ratios, which has the knock-on effect of reducing the available pot for lending.

Yet Vince Cable wants banks to lend more, and to be paid according to how much money they pump into the system. This is the same Vince Cable that railed against bankers' bonuses - "I think the bonus culture which continues is unacceptable. The coalition agreement makes it very clear that unacceptable bonuses are continuing and that is something we want to try to stop and that reflects the lack of moral compass."

Can anyone see a wee contradiction here? Bankers' will lend to unsuitable people again, in order to boost their lending levels. This lending means they will get bigger bonuses. These loans will default, fucking up the banks' balance sheets and probably leading to more Government intervention, given the wobbly nature of these banks' finances anyway.

And which incompetent Lib Dem cretin will be the first to shout at the banks for paying bonuses for irresponsible lending? I wonder...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fairtrade - The Problem

Yesterday, sweet-toothed trader Anthony Ward bought pretty much the entire European market in Cocoa beans, in the largest Cocoa trade for 14 years.

How boring, you may think. But there is a comment from a FairTrade representative at the end of the first article, which is I think sums up the problem inherent in the FairTrade concept. Here it is in full (emphasis mine).

Barbara Crowther, a spokesman at the Fairtrade Foundation, said that no farmers in West Africa would benefit from the higher prices. She said: "This speculation only serves to increase volatility and uncertainty. Part of the problems in rent years have been the lack of investment in improving cocoa farms. But the farmers have already been paid a set price – none of this money will filter down to them."

All that she says is true. However, in theory, the purchase of these cocoa beans should ultimately benefit these farmers. They wouldn't benefit this year of course, but next year they should be able to command a higher premium for their beans, or produce more, as evidently there is a mild supply shortage. This additional money would then provide the investment required.

The problem is, of course, the FairTrade intermediary will prevent any of this happening. Ironically, FairTrade has no real desire to help farmers invest and grow, as they have this romantic idea of subsistence farming that bears no relation to the reality of hours of back-breaking toil actually required.

Perhaps allowing a free market to set a fair price might allow these farmers to speak for themselves rather than being ripped off by an organisation answerable to no-one except themselves.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Employers in "Looking for 2:1 Degree" Shocker

So the BBC ran this little nugget this morning - it seems that "Three quarters of employers 'require 2:1 degree'".

My first thought was actually "what are the other employers looking for?", because frankly if you don't require a 2:1, then why ask for a degree at all? I got a 2:1, and it really is not that hard, I was incredibly lazy at uni, as were most of my peers. The ones that managed a first worked pretty hard, but everyone else just arsed about mainly.

Bear in mind as well that two-thirds of students get a 2:1 apparently, so employers are actually only ruling out 1 out of every 3 applicants, which is bugger-all really. Particularly since apparently 69 grads apply for each post on average, so that still leaves 46 applicants in the game.

Yet according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters, "While this approach does aid the sifting process it can rule out promising candidates with the right work skills unnecessarily". Well, evidently the right work skills do not include being able to work at all or indeed learn anything. This is the bottom third of a massive pool of people who did something (get a degree) that is for the most part very easy.

The BBC's spin is predictably entitled and leftist (emphasis mine) -
"so this means the remaining third, who will still have passed their exams and paid their tuition fees, will not even be considered by these employers."

So because someone wrote his name on some exam papers and handed over some cash, he should automatically be considered for a job. Otherwise it is unfair.

The unintended (if incredibly predictable) consequence of Labour's obsession with everyone going to university is a whole bunch of people with a worthless piece of paper no-one is interested in, who are worse off than if they had gone straight to work. They are also saddled with unrealistic expectations borne out of entitlement shown beautifully by the BBC above.

Hike tuition fees, slash the number of available places by 25%, and spend some of the savings making sure that bright poor kids can afford to pay these fees. It really isn't very complicated.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Funny

Brilliant comment below this ridiculous story in the Daily Grail.

"So his bogus magic water was illegal because it wasn't really bogus magic water from Lourdes, as endorsed by a man in Rome wearing a frock?"


Monday, June 28, 2010

Someone's been watching too much X-Men

Dear God, it's an abomination, a frankenfish, it's, it's, hmmm quite tasty actually...

Lord Melchett, policy director at the Soil Association, said the new technology is not worth the risk.

"Once you have bombarded an animal with other genes, the DNA is unstable, and there is no guarantee these fish remain sterile. It poses far too great a risk to wild salmon. A fish that grows that quickly is likely to lose some of its environmental benefits. There is no such thing as a free salmon lunch and we will pay the price," he said.

You can't say that

Here's an article that beautifully encapsulates several things that really wind me up.

Firstly, as a father of two, I'm sick of being preached at by breast-feeding Nazis. My eldest son is almost two now, bottle-fed from 6 weeks, a picture of health and happiness. My second is two months, bottle-fed from 4 weeks, ditto. So leave us the hell alone.

And what is this shit about an apology? Here is a lovely quote by a level-headed individual:

"She said: ‘There is no evidence that breastfeeding causes a woman’s boobs to sag. This (article) insinuates that breastfeeding is sexually perverted and that it is preferable to use breasts sexually rather than for their biological function of feeding babies. It also implies in a  general way that breastfeeding is weird.
‘It is highly irresponsible to print it. I believe that (Blundell) has breached the Code by using inaccurate facts as well as opinion.’"

Breached the Code? It's an opinion piece you cretin. But god forbid people should be entitled to an off-message opinion, we can't have that.

And finally, this (emphasis mine):

"The furious response to the article has resulted in almost 600 people joining a Facebook page dedicated to forcing her to apologise.

Oooooh, a facebook page. Maybe they could go and steal some cows from her frigging farmville farm, how would she cope? Or perhaps poke her over and over until she just couldn't stand it?

People are so stupid.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Get a Grip

This from the Daily Mail caught my eye:

Contains a rather amusing picture of a baby supposedly smoking a bong. This has bizarrely triggered Child Services involvement. Note that there are no pics of the baby puffing out smoke, or trying to eat his own weight in Wheat Crunchies or Pepperami, or perhaps trying to put his hair into dreads, just a pic of him basically chewing a bong. Probably safe to assume he wasn't getting a smoke on.

My mate has a young daughter, and he often "offers her" his beer bottle, which she tries to eat. Makes for a comedy photo, but surprisingly enough he doesn't let her drink the beer. Probably also not a case for Child Services, although who knows nowadays.

Just get a bloody grip, for the love of God, and fuck off out of people's lives.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Airbags on Airplanes?

In the Geneva local paper, 20 Minutes, there is an amusing article about fitting airbags in Business Class on Swiss flights. Apparently new planes used by Swiss have airbags installed in Business Class, which seems to me a bit like putting airbags in your shoes when you use a parachute. If it goes wrong, a little cushion probably isn't going to make much difference I imagine.

Of course Economy Class passengers are furious that their safety isn't being taken seriously, like passengers on the Titanic demanding their lifejackets.

Anyone in the aviation industry care to explain why airbags are useful on a massive piece of flying metal?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hypocrisy & Sex Tourism

The article is bad enough, the nauseating true life story from "Lucy" really is self-serving bullshit, if a man wrote anything like this he'd get torn apart.

A couple of choice quotes, with my additions...

"The words "sex tourism" make me think of City boys who go to Thailand with their mates for seedy conquests to boast about."
Ah yes, boasting. Sort of like an article in a newspaper about shagging a local lad for money.
"It's different for women."
Only in your head.
"When they go abroad for sex, it's about wanting to feel special and escaping the boundaries at home."
And those lucky men probably love it as well, just like those hookers.
"There are very strict rules at the hotel about staff and guests..."
Hmm, sounds like a brothel
" I knew I had to make the first move."
The first move? You're paying him for sex, what "moves" exactly are required?
"I told him I was going for a walk on the beach - and we spent our first night together. It was very romantic."
Using code? Still sounds like a brothel.
"Sandi and I had a great time."
Ah yes once again, he loved it, how could he not? The money was incidental.
Compare with this in the Daily Mash. Which one is satire again?

Announcing Death via Twitter

Not convinced this was the right medium:

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff announced to the world he had signed off on the execution via micro-blogging site Twitter.
"I just gave the go ahead to Corrections Director to proceed with Gardner's execution," Shurtleff tweeted shortly before Gardner was shot through the heart by a five-man firing squad at Utah State Prison.
"May God grant him the mercy he denied his victims."

He then got annoyed by people objecting to the death penalty:
Shurtleff, in the tweet, said it was “astonishing that no retweet whiner express [sic] outrage that Gardner shot 2 men in the face, & a cop; nor one word of empathy for their families.”

Seems a bit wrong, but it could have been worse I suppose:
"Lol jst told my homiez to pop caps in Grdner, dat's wot I call corrections ROFLcopter, #deathpen #waxbullet #bang_ur_dead"
Followed with
"all u hataz wnt to think bout families ov victims, he got wot he deserved all u RT pansiez can fk urselves #hippyfags"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Where to start?

This article manages to include not one but two fairly major fails.

First of all, WTF is up with an 11-yr-old getting taken to the "prom" in a helicopter? Why is there even a prom at all? When I was 11 (and that's less than 20 years ago) the end of primary school heralded potentially some chocolate, an activity of some kind and there might have been a disco, to which I imagine I wore a shellsuit, things being how they were back in the day. But a prom? Ferraris? Limos? What a bunch of spoilt little pricks are going to come out of this school.

Secondly, isn't it amazing how some fecking charity manages to muscle in on the article. Kids at Mearns are clearly not short of a few quid, and yet we have some worthy from One Parent Families Scotland (less than 1% funded by donations, fundraising & membership, can I hear you say fake charity?) explaining that "schools need to be sensitive to the financial circumstances of all parents".

So this is the school's fault now? Well in one sense it is, in that they should probably just tell the parents to stop being such fuckwits, but ultimately it's neither their problem nor their fault if parents decide it's a good idea for their offspring to learn about pimping out in a limo at the age of 11. To be clear, this is the parents' problem, or in the case of the families this "charity" looks at, the parent's problem. But of course that wouldn't fit in with whatever bullshit cause they are pedalling, so better blame the school then.