Friday, December 08, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
As for those who demand reparations, the idiocy is astounding. What about the blacks who profited from slavery (including the small group of black slave-owners in the US)? What about the Arabs, will they make reparations too? And can we trace the white victims of slavery, and arrange to pay-off their descendants too?
I would suggest that a more pressing concern, (other than Iraq, the NHS, education and the other horrors inflicted on us by new Labour), is those poor souls in Mauritania who remain slaves hundreds of years after it has been abolished in the West.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
For them the promise of almost unlimited energy from fusion is a nightmare. Forget that fusion energy is relatively carbon-neutral and that the fuel is plentiful and cheap. The nightmare for them is that if it works it will power the world to continue to accelerate economic development. For the green movement anything that promotes consumption is bad. That's the bottom line for them. Cutting back on energy usage, reducing consumption and economic development, these are what Monbiot and co are after.
Technologies like thorium power, fusion and so on are a huge threat to environmental fundamentalists.
Monday, November 20, 2006
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Abolish all faith schools and prohibit the teaching of creationism and other religious mythology in all UK schools
Monday, November 06, 2006
1. Gun crime. First offenders will be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan to complete a tour of duty. There will be no exceptions. Repeat offenders will complete a second tour of duty, though this time they will not be issued with ammunition.
2. Alcohol-induced violence. Those found guilty will be sent to a clinic where they will have vodka administered intravenously. This will be done in an isolation room so that there is no possible social pleasure derived from the experience. Once a mammoth hang-over has been induced the offender will be forced to complete a six-mile cross-country run. Failure to complete the run will cause additional intravenous vodka, stomach-pumping and then another attempt at a run.
3. Knife crime. Male offenders convicted of knife crime will have half an inch of penis surgically removed for a first offence. Subsequent offences will cause the loss of a full inch. The most persistent offenders will also be sentenced to breast enhancement surgery. How macho will these guys feel with no knob and pendulous boobs?
4. Joy-riders will be supplied with roller-skates and then tied to the back of their victim's vehicle. The driver will be free to drive at speed on any public road for a period of half an hour. A second offender will only be issued with one skate. There are no skates issued for subsequent offences, though in the interests of fairness the victims of the joy-rider will only be allowed to drive their cars for 15 minutes.
It is to be hoped that this time politicians take notice. More Progressive Contrarian policies are in the pipe-line...
Friday, November 03, 2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
PM: I'm sick to death of all the negativity around Iraq. It's all bad, bad, bad. Never. Do we read any of the good news. I mean. We've got rid of an awful dictator. We made him put his weapons of destruction so far out of reach it was like they never existed.
Drone1: What are you saying, Tony?
PM: I'm saying that it's time we put across the good news from Iraq. Let's take the initiative for once. No more reacting to bad news defensively.
Drone2: Is it initiative with a capital I? Or is it a lower-case initiative?
Drone1: We've had four new initiatives this month. We've got two more scheduled for next month.
PM: Does that mean we've achieved our initiative targets?
Drone1: Yes, Tony. Exceeded the target in fact.
PM: Hell, and they say we're a lame duck government. It's sickening. We lead the world in Initiatives and do we get any credit for it?
Drone2: How about commissioning a report?
Drone1: Is that an upper-case 'Report' or a lower-case 'report'?
PM: What have we got?
Drone2: I think we're all commissioned out at the moment. Gordon's been bitching about this again. Says we can't take on any more special advisors for doing reports until he's in the hot seat himself.
PM: Bastard. OK. No Initiative. No Report. I still think we need to get on the case. How about... A major international conference?
Drone2: Excellent idea. I think there's a slot in a couple of weeks.
PM: And if we take that slot what does that do for our target?
Drone1: Puts us over the target in international conferences as well.
PM: Excellent. World class. So. What is the good news from Iraq?
Drone2: Sorry, Tony? I don't quite follow...
PM: I want us to lead on some strong news. We need to show the world that my Iraq policy has been a success. So, what do we have?
PM: Come on. You're not going to tell me it's all bad? Look at the NHS. It's so much better than it used to be. They meet their targets often enough. It's a perception thing.
Drone1: Got you, Tony. Got you. OK. How's this. Increased social mobility.
PM: I like that. What's the story.
Drone1: Well, under Saddam people weren't free. Now, under a stable and popular democratic regime people are free to move around as they wish. All over Iraq people are on the move - in fact whole communities are moving en-masse, actively encouraged by their neighbours usually.
Drone2: That's good. I've got one too. Education.
PM: I like the sound of this.
Drone2: Under Saddam education was nothing but force-fed propaganda and indoctrination. Now, under the popularly elected government education is free. Particularly faith-based education. There's been a lot of growth in faith-based education, a lot.
Drone1: Yes, explosive growth in fact.
Drone2: Industry? We need something on that too, I would think.
PM: Very true. We need to show how democracy has made the population more prosperous.
Drone1: The private security industry’s really taken off....
Drone2: The association of small arms dealers is doing well....
Drone1: Funeral and mortuary services are showing phenomenal expansion...
PM: Hmm. Let's just stick to the good news on mobility and education for now.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
There's a good piece at the Guardian today where Tatchell points out the hypocrisy of those Muslims who bleat on about Islamophobia but who espoused some of the most reactionary bollocks you'll hear in this country (even more reactionary than the BNP for example). He also makes a point of mentioning the parasitical Left like the SWP who ally themselves with Islamic fascists.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
It would be great to have him proved right. Those who hate the weirdness of quantum physics will be relieved to find that his more classical approach explains many of the results of quantum mechanics without the counter-intuitive and down-right strangeness offered by Bohr, Heisenberg and the like. And, as important, if his theories are correct there's the promise of whole new power sources.
On the other hand, his work is so far against the grain that it seems too good to be true.
However, it's the scientific method which will ultimately clear the doubt. If he's a clever con-man then he'll be exposed. If what he says is on the right track then those scientists who are risking ridicule by taking him seriously will be doing us all a great service.
Friday, October 20, 2006
The view of scepticism that emerges is that it feels impotent, is terrified of the world, and lacks trust in other people’s ability to determine their own interests or make their own decisions. The leading thinkers of the loose movement of sceptics end up coming across not as confident individuals who have radical visions about how to use their rationalist outlook to change the world, but rather as timid souls, keen to advance the idea that that world is a dangerous place, made all the more dangerous by ideas themselves.
In part it does this by suggesting that many sceptics subscribe to the 'meme' hypothesis proposed by Richard Dawkins. This is the theory that ideas themselves are discrete units that can reproduce and spread through a population - they are the mental equivalent of genes in other words. Firstly it's not clear whether Dawkins meant that memes are real or whether he's speaking metaphorically. The whole thing is confused and confusing. However, to suggest that the majority of sceptics subsribe to the idea is bizarre. It's not clear on what evidence Pile bases this assumption.
Pile also assumes that the sceptics accept the computationalist view of consciousness - in other words that we deny the central role of conscious thought and instead view it as a convenient fiction to rationalise deeper semi-conscious processes. In this view mind is composed of competing agents - independent units of thought - which somehow come together to direct our actions and which we then piece together a narrative called conciousness.
Again, to propose that this is a widely accepted idea within the sceptics community seems to be based on wishful thinking on Pile's part.
The central message that rationalists have is that it's the scientific method which is primarily the engine for debunking pseudo-science and religion. And, far from being embedded in the establishment, it is increasingly those who refuse to accept the primacy of 'faith' who are in the minority.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
Don't these morons realise that the Islamists would have no compunction about suppressing the Left? Can't they see what the Islamists have done in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and other countries?
Friday, October 13, 2006
Just as you cannot impose democracy from above (see Iraq for more details...) you can impose free markets or prosperity from above either. Micro-credit works because it's bottom up, given people access to small amounts of money that they can decide how to spend. It's the perfect example of (complexity economics at work.
The article in the Telegraph is good, and not one I would expect to see in the Guardian, but it only echoes the views of people like the Independent Working Class Association. The IWCA reject the politics of multi-culturalism but from a class perspective rather than because they are racists. They, and people like them, are the true anti-racists in this country.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
His first year at Wizard school is described in the book 'Harriri Potter And The Philosophers Stoned'. Harriri joins the wizard school and in the first weeks he and his chums hear about a philosopher who casts doubt on the existence of Mohammed. The philosopher is tried and convicted by the wizards and is then stoned to death. The young wizards are also told that Quidditch is un-Islamic because Mohammed doesn't mention it in the Koran. Harriri and friends are told to read the Koran instead of playing Quidditch.
In the second book of the series 'Harriri Potter And The Chamberpot of Secretions', the young wizard begins to discover his sexuality. The teachers at his school put a stop to this and warn him that sex is bad, bad, bad. Harriri is so pissed off that he and his mates find some fakirs to attack. By this stage Harriri has discovered that there's only one piece of magic taught at his school. It's making people disappear. Usually in a blinding explosion that kills many people, including the wizard. The older wizards explain that the wizard who has disappeared has gone to a better place, where there's sex on demand. Harriri is very pleased at this.
In 'Harriri Potter And The Prisoner of Abu Ghraib', young Harriri and friends are incensed by what the fakirs do to a bunch of Muslim prisoners. Many of the young wizards perform the disappearing trick, mainly among people who have no idea what went on at Abu Ghraib, and who disapproved of it when they did find out. Also in this book Harriri's friend, Hermione is accused of immodest behaviour in showing a bare arm and is stoned to death by the other wizards.
In the fourth instalment, 'Harriri Potter Gobs In The Fire', the young wizard learns how to make the special balm that is used in the disappearing trick. He learns how to make it, strap it to himself and how to make sure the balm is bulked out with nails, bolts and other bits of metal. Harriri is also able to recite the Koran from start to finish. Having to do this stops him thinking about anything else. He feels so pissed off at having to do this that he and his friends regularly claim to be victimised by those who don't have to do it.
In 'Harriri Potter Orders A Pizza', things only get worse. Harriri and friends in the wizard school are told that pizza is un-Islamic. They are so incensed that they kidnap a fakir and behead him. They also behead a Muslim who says that Mohamed used to eat pizza all the time. Harriri can't wait to do the disappearing magic - no sex, no beer and no pizza. What's the point of carrying on, especially as the fakirs have it when they want it?
In the sixth book of the series, 'Harriri Potter And The Half-Price Prints', the young wizard helps his friend Ron ibn-Weasley perform the disappearing trick. Ron is successful and takes many fakirs and innocent Muslims with him. However, Harriri has sent the film of the trick to a cut-price photo-lab, and the half-price prints are so useless that Al-jazeera refuses to air them. Harriri is so angry he and the other wizards attack fakir embassies to complain.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Monday, October 09, 2006
The bottom line: is global warming the first scientific theory in history which cannot be disputed? Isn't it the duty of scientists to do science and not to clamp down on the free exchange of ideas?
Increasingly I feel that the global warming debate has taken on a religious hue. Global warming is the new dogma, and in place of a God that needs to be placated we have the environment. Where men had once to bow down before an invisible and omniscient deity, now they have sacrifice economic development to appease a merciless planet that we have angered.
In an extraordinary move deputy Prime Minister John Prescot today announced that he had adopted the veil as a statement of solidarity with Muslim women. Mr Prescott, pictured below, has criticised Jack Straw's comment that the veil is viewed as a mark of separation.
'Listen, lad,' Mr Prescott is quoted as saying, 'I can fully understand why these women hide behind the veil. I'm sick of being objectified and viewed as an object of sexual desire. Wearing this burqa allows me the privacy of wearing my cowboy outfit without fear of ridicule. And there ain't half loads of room for hiding pies and the like.'
Muslim community leaders have welcomed Mr Prescott's move, though some have questioned whether the deputy Prime Minister isn't breaking the rules my munching pork pies under his burqa.
Abu Musa Smith, (formerly Crispin Tarquin Smith), a well-known community leader had this to say: 'We demand that John Prescott decapitate Jack Straw to show the world that Islam is a peaceful religion. Only then can we take this government seriously.'
Friday, October 06, 2006
Where are those who are demanding justice for Muslim victims of racism? This poor lad was the victim of an unprovoked murder by Muslim men. I don't see anyone attacking their racism.
If this was the story of a Muslim lad attacked by white men, who kidnap, torture, kill and then set fire to the body there'd be uproar. Kriss Donald was white and working class, does that mean he's fair game?
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
The answer probably lies in the fact that Kriss Donald was white and the three men accused of his racist murder are Asian.
At the time of the murder I posted about it on the IndyMedia website. The reaction was typical - I was accused of being a racist, a supporter of the BNP, and of course that I'm white (I'm not, but is that really the point?).
Now, with the trial under way there's still the same silence. Where are the condemnations of racism? Where is the spleen vented at the animals who would torture and kill their innocent victim.
The fact remains that there are lots of people who claim to be on the Left in this country who refuse to attack racist violence if the victim is white. The hypocrisy is disgusting and does nothing but drive people into the arms of scum-bags like the BNP.
Compare the silence on this case to the mass publicity in those cases where the victim isn't white. Why the difference? I can't work out whether it's fear of being labelled racist or a simple refusal to believe that black people can be as racist as whites.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Reading Kirk Leech's piece on spiked-online paints another picture. In this case the western multi-nationals are NGOs, and the people they're exploiting are those desperate residents who are hoping for the new mine to deliver work, income and investment. Instead of which the environmentalists are promising tourism (of an eco-friendly sort, no doubt), back breaking work in the fields and none of the 'bad' quality of life things we take for granted in the west.
Whether you think Leech is being as one-sided as the NGOs is open to question - but there's no doubt that the story he tells is not one that you'll be reading in the Guardian, the Ecologist or IndyMedia.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
No shit sherlock. Next they'll be telling us that bears shit in woods and that the Pope's suspected of Catholic tendencies...
None of this is news of course. Not even the fact that the Bush and Blair governments deny this and think that we're so stupid that we'll believe them.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
The policy of subcontracting political responsibility allows politicians to wash their hands of the alienation of sections of the Muslim community. And it allows self-appointed community leaders with no democratic mandate to gain power both within Muslim communities and the wider society. But it does the rest of us - Muslim and non-Muslim - no favours. It is time that politicians dropped the pretence that there is a single Muslim community and started taking seriously the issue of political engagement with their constituents, whatever their religious faith.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
A leading Imam, Mustafa D'Ump, of the College of Islamic Studies in Cheltenham, was quoted as saying 'The characterisation of Islam as backward and vicious is entirely incorrect. Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. How many of you buggers do we have to behead before you understand that?'
Some have noted that the Pope's speech failed to mention witch-burning, the Inquistion, kiddie-fiddling and other Christian activities. Islamists have hit back by saying Christianity has lost it's way and should return to these practices if it really wants to be taken seriously.
Monday, September 11, 2006
That same scepticism is at play in a piece on Spiked-online, which looks at the claims that organic milk is healthier than non-organic because of increased levels of omega 3 fatty acids. The article is worth reading, not only because it punctures the claims, but also because it points out that drinking milk for omega-3 is a pretty stupid (inefficient) way of getting them compared to a can of sardines or some salmon.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
1. Establish a huge committee to discuss the project - drag this stage out for a number of years. If possible make sure that none of the people on the committee have any IT knowledge. Rotate personnel on the committee so that by the end of this stage nobody from the original committee is on it.
2. Pay massive amounts of money to big consultancy firms. Please ensure that only the most expensive and arrogant of consultants are used.
3. Dig a huge hole in the ground and bury lots more money.
4. Three years after the deadline release a prototype that looks like it was knocked up by a 13-year old hacker. Please ensure it's non-functional and has the performance and agility of John Prescott.
5. Five years after the deadline cancel the project.
And, to his other achievements, we should add that he's worked wonders on rebranding the Tory party as a serious and viable alternative. Nobody imagined that the Tories could ever step out from the long shadow of Maggie Thatcher and her malign influence, but our Tony has done an excellent job.
Gordon Brown, of course, must also realise that the game is up. If I were him I'd be wondering whether David Cameron has been the real beneficiary of Tony's actions.
Anyway, let's hope that Tony's suffering gets worse, fast.
Not only does Craft attack multi-culturalism as encouraging racial/religious segration and difference, he also points out that it's the workling classes (of all backgrounds) who stand to lose most.
Predictably the IWCA are attacked as being racist, but the fact is that it's the politics of multi-culturalism that are racist.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Do the articles on Jesus, Buddha or anyone else have a similar suffix? Nope.
Does the suffix add anything informational to the article? Nope.
It's bad enough that the BBC is a bastion of political correctness. It's bad enough that the corporation acts as one big propaganda machine for religion. But now it special cases Islam for fear of giving offence - as usual bending over backwards to appease those who bleat on endlessly about 'Islamophobia'.
As far as the BBC goes it's not 'Islamophobic', it suffers (like a lot of the 'cultural' left), from a severe case of 'Islamophilia'.
Friday, August 25, 2006
How can segregating kids according to religion do anything to foster 'cohesion and integration'? It's like saying that apartheid encouraged respect for different races...
But then both Kelly and Blair are religious zealots. How could a member of Opus Dei do anything but support religious extremism?
I never thought I'd see the day when I hated a government as much as Margaret Thatcher's - but that day has long passed. They are scum.
Yep. Totally ridiculous and a huge waste of resources (which pretty much describes what a lot of the EU does...). However, that's money that could easily be saved - sign the online petition to force this before the European Commission. The organisers are looking for a million signatures - they've got 900 000 so far.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Do You Submit?
Class War takes a critical look at the world's fastest growing
Islam: A History
Islam means 'submission'. Submission of your whole existence to
what your god decrees. It was thought up by the supporters of a
seventh century Arabian gangster in order to consolidate their
criminal organisation's hold over the region. It is followed by over a
billion people on this planet.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
The values he supports are what you would expect from a secular education. There are certainly christian schools run by some of the more strict sects (no evolution, the bible is the literal word of God etc), which have all of the faults that he associates with Islamic and other faith schools.
Let's hope that someone, somewhere sees sense enough to put a stop to the continuing advance of divisive and dangerous faith schools.
Enough is enough - religion is poison, let's not forget that.
Also worth pointing out is that unlike most other sections of the 'left', the class struggle stream of anarchism has not adopted the 'we must support Hezbullah' line. Sticking to class and secularist principles, they've instead attacked Israel for what it's doing, but also criticised the Islamist movements for their reactionary, racist and sexist policies. The contrast between groups as disparate as Class War and the French CNT on the one hand, and the different flavours of Leninists and Trotskyists is striking.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Bush: Blair, that you?
Blair: Yes, Mr President.
Bush: How's it hanging, Blair?
Blair: Good, sir. And you?
Bush: Not good. This Lebanon thing is bad news.
Blair: Yes, sir, I agree.
Bush: I'm thinking we gotta make some kind of statement to world.
Blair: Absolutely, sir.
Bush: I'm thinking we bomb Iran till they agree to stop all that shit.
Blair: Iran, sir? But it's the Lebanon that's being bombed.
Bush: Ain't that the capital of Iran?
Blair: No, sir, Mr President. It's another country altogether.
Bush: Shit, this sure is complicated.
Blair: Perhaps we should issue some kind of verbal statement?
Bush: That's good, I like that idea, Blair.
Blair (blushing): Thank you, sir.
Bush: OK. How's this... We think, in this time of war, we need less bombs and missiles being used.
Blair: I think you mean fewer rather than less.
Blair: The correct form of words should be 'fewer bombs and missiles'
Bush: Gee, you sure do talk like a girl, Blair. But OK. And we want all sides to get together and agree on doing whatever it takes to keep us happy. I mean, there's too much people getting killed in Israel...
Blair: Too many.
Blair: Not too much, it's too many.
Bush: Whatever. What d'you think, Blair? That enough?
Blair: That's very good, sir. So long as you accept the substantive contributions that her majesty's government has just made.
Bush: Sure, you want to word it like a sissy I'm willing to go ahead with. By the way, my laundry done?
Blair: Yes, sir. Three shirts, two jackets and a pair of socks. Do you think we should involve someone else?
Bush: Like who?
Blair: Yes, that's a good idea.
Blair: Getting Hu involved, excellent. And what about Kofi? And Putin?
Bush: What? Coffee? Pudding? What the hell you talking about Blair?
Blair: Nothing, sir.
Bush: Now that you mention it, some coffee and a cake is a good idea. And how about you give another foot massage?
Blair (blushing): Yes, sir. You want another toe job while I'm at it?
Bush: Sure, but this time wait till I take my boots off.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Furthermore, the waste produced by a Thorium reactor is relatively short-lived compared to plutonium (ie it has a half life of around 500 years compared to 10000 years for plutonium). Thorium is also more abundant, easier to mine and doesn't have to go through expensive and dangerous processing before it can be used in a reactor.
It all sounds too good to be true - if it's so great why aren't all new reactors thorium powered? Firstly there are still some technical issues to resolve - but they're being worked on. Secondly there's an entrenched nuclear industry that has a vested interest in continuing with current technology. And finally, of course there seem to be no military spin-offs from this technology.
For those of us who are against the current generation of nuclear power this new technology might seem like more of the same old same old. But there are real benefits, if this article is to be believed. Firstly thorium reactors can be used to get rid of plutonium from spent power rods or disabled nuclear weapons. Secondly it breaks that whole military connection and finally, it looks like it provides for the cheap energy that the developing world so desperately needs.
There's a lot of promise here. A mixed fuel economy that includes cellulosic ethanol, solar, wind, fuel cells and thorium nuclear reactors looks pretty sustainable to me.
Friday, July 21, 2006
1. She does as the Prime Minister tells her.
2. She can point to the United States on a world atlas, unaided.
3. She has been on holiday abroad.
10. She's not John Prescott
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
For starters Israel's attack will strengthen Hizbullah, not weaken it. It will also probably lead to the collapse of the secular authorities. Perhaps a sectarian civil war is what Israel really wants for Lebanon.
Hizbullah and the Israeli state, they're made for each other.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Coal can be a clean technology - but what it depends on are miners to get at the coal in the first place. Given that one of the big reasons that mining was downplayed was because of the militancy of the miners, it remains to be seen how much a government is going to want to go back to mining.
Yet again nuclear is attractive to governments for non-technical reasons - it's easier to control and there are no pesky class war militants to deal with...
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Yes, we've gone for the nuclear option. The world has changed radically since the last energy review. At that time the situation was very different. Today it's different again. And tomorrow it might also be different. But. For the sake of our children we need to face the facts. Climate change. Global warming. Environmental change. Energy security. Climate change. We can't ignore the unpleasant realities. So. This government, my government, has to be bold and take the decisions that only we can take.
There are some who will claim that this policy change is a U-turn. Nothing can be further from the truth. Our commitment is to renewables. Solar. Wind. Wave. Nuclear. There are those who claim that we have reneged on our ideals. I say, what ideals? There are those who say that we are going for the nuclear option because it affirms my virility. They say that governments like big projects, wars, mass destruction. But I ask you, all of you, do you really think that a government that's invaded Iraq, and which is at war in Afghanistan, really needs nuclear power stations to make it seem tough and in control? It's not as if we need to resort to having senior government politicians romping in cowboy suits, is it?
No. We remain committed to do what's best for this government. The nuclear option will be part of my legacy. A bunch of windmills are for pansies. New Labour. Are not afraid. You probably should be.
Friday, July 07, 2006
The truth of the matter is that John Prescott plays vital role for British industry. It was in this capacity that he visited the ranch of American billionaire Phillip Anschutz. Mr Anschutz, an extremely rich billionaire, has a wide range of business interests: oil, film, casinos, telecommunications and lard. It is in connection with the latter that he consulted with John Prescott, who has single handedly kept the British lard industry alive in recent years.
Mr Anschutz, who in addition to being extremely rich is also a billionaire, refuses to be interviewed on the subject of lard, but many in the industry believe that he is keen on developing one of America's largest natural resources. John 'lardy' Prescott is a world expert on the subject, and was said to be discussing the aphrodisiac qualities of lard with a number of lady friends.
Sources at Downing Street refused to rule out the option of officially making Prescott the country's 'Lard Tsar'. They also categorically stated that Mr Prescott is not interested in milking his job for all it's worth. 'John Prescott', an unnamed spokesman declared, 'is rolling in cash already, why would he be sniffing around a billionaire? Have you seen his expenses claims recently?'
Any suggestions of impropriety have been by firmly denied. When quizzed, Downing St spokesmen pointed out that the strange whiff emanating from government is not the whiff of decadence or sleaze, it's just plain old fashioned bullshit.
Monday, July 03, 2006
As a starter here's some fresh thinking on crime, direct from the Progressive Contrarian:
1. Young muggers, vandals and other miscreants should have their expensive designer trainers confiscated and replaced with Tesco Value trainers. Anyone sentenced to this punishment and caught wearing other trainers will be further sentenced to wearing a complete Tesco Value outfit.
2. Muggers who steal mobile phones should be fitted with a collar containing a mobile phone jamming device for a specified period. In order not to impinge on their human rights, and in order to give them access to the phone network in emergencies, they will be issued with a BT phone card.
3. Young male sex offenders should be forced to wear pink outfits, wear lipstick and stilletto heels. Furthermore they should be forced to leave the house every day wearing this outfit. Serious offenders should be sentenced to prison wearing this type of outfit.
4. Vandals should be forced to build a replica of the Eiffel Tower using matchsticks and super glue. They will be given detailed instructions and a set time to build it (say two hours). If the period expires without the model being completed it will be trashed by an OAP and the process has to begin again.
Hopefully these suggestions will set the ball rolling. If it's true that prison doesn't work then perhaps it's time to look at some punishments that will really strike fear into the heart of a machismo youth culture that sees 'respect' as everything.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
There's a good review of 'The End of Faith' over at the London Book Review.com. The point is clear, tolerating religion is like tolerating belief in the flat earth. Sure, people can believe it if they want, but surely they don't expect any respect because of it?
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Not so neat are the growing levels of hype in favour of nuclear power. With parts of the 'green' movement switching to supporting the nuclear option, the government is slowly but surely heading in the pro-nuclear direction. And the latest headline green to rethink the nuclear option is none other than George Monbiot. In a piece for the LA Times he comes out in favour of nukes as a way of stopping the advance of coal.
With influential figures like him swapping sides it will be interesting to see how the movement against nuclear energy develops.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Still, it's an interesting and amusing read and well worth seeking out.
Monday, June 05, 2006
Thursday, June 01, 2006
What to do about it? Unfortunately there are no easy answers, no matter what politicians would like us to think. A simple step, however, might be to make searches for weapons a routine part of contact between the police and teenage boys (and girls). Anytime that the police have to deal with these kids, whether it's because someone's made a complaint or because the police are suspicious, then there should be a search for weapons. And if a weapon is found then it should be prosecution - with repeat offences warranting increasing sanctions.
If there's a high risk of being caught and the sanctions get increasingly harsh then you'll reach a point where it becomes too 'expensive' to go out with a knife. That's what we should be aiming for. If the risk of getting caught is low, and the sanction not very onerous then carrying a knife is a 'cheap' option.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Ken Livingstone, and the Green Party come to that, disapprove because they feel we should be cutting back on water usage, cutting back on power consumption and generally leaving less of a 'footprint'. Yes, it would be good to improve fuel efficiency - but only because it means we can continue to use the power we need. Yes we need to improve London's water infrastructure, but that doesn't solve the water problem.
Human progress depends on increasing energy consumption and on a ready supply of clean water. We can get both of these through the use of new technologies. We shouldn't be stopping progress in its tracks. Going backwards won't solve global warming and the other environmental problems we face.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
The sudden note of urgency doesn't make much sense, even with the Russians, Venezualans, Iranians and others flexing their energy muscles. Nuclear doesn't drive cars or provide gas for domestic heating or cooking. Neither does the global warming argument stack up.
The best answers to energy use and carbon emissions are micro-generation, renewables and increasing energy efficiency. Why are these not attractive to governments, particularly to centralising governments like Tony Blair's? Because they are decentralised, small scale and don't provide the government with the testosterone rush that huge centrally controlled projects provide. Like unreconstructed Stalinists, centralising governments of all persuasions are fatally attracted to 'prestigious' monuments - such as huge dams and nuclear power stations.
Whatever the reasoning, the move towards nuclear will be a disastrous mistake.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Those of us who support vivisection need to realise that the real problem is not a minority of extremists. The problem is that we live in a society that refuses to recognise the moral good of research on animals.
Excellent article from Spiked Online, commenting on Tony Blair's opportunism on the medical research argument.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Personally, I'm sure that there are plenty of animal liberationists who are more than pleased with Blair's intervention. I would rather he kept his mouth shut or, better still, came out as a closet supporter of the Animal Liberation Front. I can see it now, fighting to save bunnies in labs while bombing the hell out of Iraq...
Friday, May 12, 2006
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
His case highlights not just the war in Iraq, but also the steady and constant erosion of civil liberties.
Friday, May 05, 2006
However, those of us opposed to racism and multiculturalism there's little reason to celebrate. Respect have succeeded by become the Islamic party by proxy. By and large they did best in those seats with large Muslim populations. In effect we are seeing a further polarisation of tribal politics, with the white working class heading in the direction of the BNP, and the Muslim community flocking to Respect. It's multiculturalism writ large - politics defined by identity.
As a non-white Briton do I feel aggrieved when I see the St George's flag? No. Do any of my family or friends - of all ethnic groups - feel put out by the sight of the England flag? No.
I can't help but wonder how many of those firemen went out and voted for the 11 BNP councillors in Barking and Dagenham.
If I was a conspiracy theorist I'd be convinced that the Labour party and it's natural allies in local government are deliberately driving people to support fascism.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
At the same time, it will be interesting to see how George Galloway's Respect does. They've not had the same publicity as the BNP, but that's because nobody really imagines that they are anything but a one-trick pony. The same cannot be said of the Independent Working Class Association (IWCA), who represent the best that the left have got to offer. The IWCA and groups like the Hackney Independent deserve to prosper, just as the BNP deserves to be ignored.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Anti-fascists claim that this 'left' rhetoric from the likes of the BNP is just a clever ruse to lure the workers to fascism. They're wrong, the 'left' policies are genuine enough, they are core components of fascism ideology.
Friday, April 21, 2006
When it comes to council elections this apathy makes even less sense. While it's true that local councils have been rendered almost powerless by the relentless authoritarianism and centralising tendencies of successive Tory and Labour governments, local councils are still closer to most people than what goes on in Westminster. If there's a chance to make a splash it's here. If we want to reconnect people's interest in change then it's here.
Encouraging apathy and cynicism is ultimately self-defeating. Do we really want people to believe that they have no power to make a difference?
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Usually any discussion of 'the silent majority' makes me suspicious, but in this case it's probably warranted. Militant animal liberationists have forced people into silence, it's good that people are finally starting to stand up for medical research.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
A quick quote:
Guy Herbert, general secretary of No2ID, said: "If everyone renews their passport now, that inconveniences their plans to get everyone on the register."
Why is this depressing? Because it reveals that even a minor party like the Greens thinks voters are morons. Forget arguments about policies that matter. What's important is voting for a party not a policy. And because we are all so stupid we'll get confused and vote Tory thinking we're really voting for the Green party.
And then politicians wonder why the public feels alienated from politics...
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
- the UN looks at the surrounding area, Greenpeace looks at all of Europe
- the UN looks just at cancer deaths, Greenpeace looks at all deaths
And no doubt they won't complain when anti-nuclear campaigners seize on the highest figures (200 000) to show that nuclear power is very dangerous
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Friday, April 07, 2006
Two things we should still keep in mind. Firstly the dangers inherent in nuclear power - and the on-going discussion of the long-term effect of Chrnobyl is a salutory reminder of this.
The second is the recent report about the £70billion cost of decommissioning nuclear power stations in the UK.
I certainly don't subscribe to the notion that we need to massively cut back on energy consumption - if we want prosperity and peace in the world we need more power not less. But that doesn't mean we should ignore the dangers of nuclear energy. There are plenty of other technologies to be developed - from fuel cells to bio-diesel to ethanol.
That old slogan of 'Nuclear Power, No Thanks', well, it might need dusting off. Though this time it's likely that there'll be plenty of 'ecologists' on the pro-nuclear side of the argument.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Ultimately drug testing is dangerous, and unless you view animal and human lives as equivalent then there's no choice but to test on animals. The truth is, however, that there are some among the vociferous animal liberation lobby who value animal lives more highly than their own species.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
So where's the evidence?
I admit I'm at a loss to find anything whatsoever. I've looked for scientific papers rather than simple assertions of 'fact'. I've looked at the Soil Association and other pro-organic bodies and groups. There's none. Lots of stuff against GM food, some stuff on benefits to the environment, but nothing on the benefits to human health.
I don't want to feel conned, I don't want to feel like I've been taken for a ride. If anybody knows of a credible paper on the benefits of organic eating then please post a reference or a link.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Looking around at the countries which do fund poltical parties doesn't fill me with confidence. France, Germany, Italy...all countries with poor records when it comes to political corruption and scandal.
What's more, how is this supposed to make the public more interested and engaged in politics? Paying for it with our taxes doesn't make me engaged, it makes me enraged. If politicians are really interested in making politics relevant than they should give back power, not stuff their faces deeper into the trough.
Friday, March 31, 2006
Anyway, for the first time in ages there's a post worth reading. It's angry, amusing, humane and pointed. Worth reading.
Here the positive spin that some green politicians put on things is exposed for what it is. There are some solid alternative technologies available, from solar to wind to hydrogen fuel cells, but the task of slotting these in as direct replacements to oil is next to impossible. There's little doubt that hydrogen is the economy of the future, but how we get to that future is not certain. Roberts proposes that natural gas is the bridge between the current fossil fuels and the next energy economy
Of course given the recent issues with natural gas, it looks like the transition period has already started, and it's going to get rockier...
Thursday, March 30, 2006
It's all the more worrying when you think that the government pretty much got what it wanted on ID cards. Despite talk of 'compromise' the government has finally got it's own way again. All this despite not having any real justification of why we need ID cards. And of course there's going to be a huge - and costly - IT disaster waiting in the wings for this too.
Friday, March 24, 2006
Peter Tatchell has written a good defence of his involvement with the demonstration on his web-site. Predictably his integrity is being questioned on places like indymedia...
Thursday, March 23, 2006
It's not about delivering services to the public. If it were then we'd not be creating non-jobs, handing out huge contracts to consultants and forever expanding the layers of management and control. The first rule of any bureaucracy is to defend it's existence and to expand as much as it can. That's what the state does. Despite Lenin's catchy slogan the state does not 'wither away' - ever.
Labour have got themselves a win-win strategy. If they expand the public sector then they hope that will buy them votes. If they lose the next election then any new government that tries to slim down the bureaucracy can be attacked for slashing public services. Either way, Labour come off as the defenders of public services. The unions and what remains of the Left will fall into line like sheep. No doubt the 'vote Labour with no illusions' slogan will be dusted off again...
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
The most interesting aspect of the whole story is the degree to which leading members of the establishment, including Cherie Blair, supported Begum. Again it just prompts the question, where is this Islamophobia that's supposed to be sweeping the country?
Thankfully civil libertarians like Peter Tatchell take liberty and free expression much more seriously.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Monday, March 20, 2006
And planting fast-growing trees for paper makes sense for CO2 absortion, particularly if we can use the wood waste for ethanol production as well.
Guest doesn't take the easy way out and pin the blame squarely on rapacious Western coporates and governments. Nor does he paint Africa as a continent full of victims waiting to be rescued from poverty by enlightened Westerners. What he does make clear is that Africa's curse is a surfeit of statism. The African peoples have been saddled with governments that were as bad, and often much worse, than the colonial powers that were there before. Corruption, rampant bureaucracies run as personal fiefdoms, tribalism encouraged by venal politicians, and endless wars have kept Africa poor, sick and barely limping along.
As an antidote to the guilt-ridden breast-beating of many Western liberals, the book makes a clear case that development and freedom go hand in hand. And, just as importantly, freedom means economic as well as political freedom. Without the freedom to trade, to work and to kick out corrupt regimes, Africas peaoples are doomed to life support in perpetuity.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
George Monbiot was on the radio a day or so ago discussing the increasing use of ethanol and bio-diesel. As an environmentalist was he pleased at the prospect of replacing fossil fuels with renewables? Absolutely not. He went into great details about the problems that might possibly occur when we grow crops for fuel – even though the prospects for cellulosic ethanol (which uses waste bio matter, such as corn stalks, wood chips etc) are looking very positive.
In the course of the interview it became clear that nothing would satisfy Monbiot except for us to cut back on the use of energy. New forms of energy seem to be of no interest, only getting people to stop travelling would work. Any sane person would agree that developing new sources of energy is essential, and that energy use has to go up if we want people across the world to share the benefits that we have in the west. Is there any better way to characterise Monbiot than to call him and his like reactionary and anti-human?