Friday, March 31, 2006

Man the barricades

ID cards to be compulsory if Labour win the next election

Ah, the sweaty baboon says that, but will Gordon agree? After all, they are going to be mighty expensive....

Via the ever-excellent Mr Eugenides. Also, take a look at his very amusing email correspondence with a Nigerain 419 scammer.

The Nameless Tory is now blogging on his account, here (it's a Graham Green quote, apparently. Clever cove, the NT.) He cites/blames me for the pseudonym. If I'd known he was going to keep using it, I'd have tried to be more imaginative!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Why I am no longer a lefty

The Nameless Tory points out that people do move rightwards as they get older. Or maybe that it is just common sense. Anyway:

I reject cultural relativism; Britain IS a better place to live then Saudi, and the reaons for that are cultural.

I do not believe Israel is the source of all evil in the Middle East. I believe prison can work.

I believe immigrants should integrate.

I believe it is time to ram, forcibly, the concept of free will down the throats of the judiciary; no-one makes you nick cars, no matter how poor you are.

Animal testing is necessary.

Foxhunting is not morally equivalent to genocide.

We can, and should, intervene in countries where people are being slaughtered en masse by their own governments - all the world leaders who were present at the UN Rwanda debates c.1994 have blood on their hands.

And I do not believe that the majority of the population of this country are suppressed raving racists who would rise up and start burning mosques, but for the armies of peole with the dreaded words 'diversity' and 'outreach' in their job titles.

However, I still maintain that the State should step in where people are unable to help themselves, and that health and education should not be run for profit. I believe in the right to strike, abused as it is these days (it enrages me when tube drivers strike for yet more money; miners used to go on strike for a better air supply underground.) And that the rich should be heavily taxed.

[steps down from soapbox]

I suppose you could call me Borisist, in some regards. Or maybe a Borist? Borisian? Borisite?

The problem with this blog is that I can never decide if I want to tell stories a la Greenfairy, do comedy like Scaryduck, or plunge straight into full-on politics like the Devil's Kitchen.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Be a good citizen

And it would ensure that the British passport does not become "a second-class document". "I take the view that it is part of being a good citizen, proving who you are, day in day out," said Mr Burnham.

Prove who you are, citizen. Every day.

When I was at school, we had to wear white for cricket...

..... but the 12th man for England always, always wore black.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Emotion and economics

Those of you who bought the Sunday Times yesterday will have been struck by the front page story concerning the debate amongst obstetricians about the wisdom and viability of treating severely pre-term babies (c.25 weeks or less). These children require intrusive and painful intensive care, which can cost over £1,000 a day all told. The story in question was illustrated buy a picture of a an appealing blonde four year old child as he is now, and as he was when he was born, headlined Should this child have been left to die?

Which brings me to the point. Doctors do not raise such awkward questions as denying children medical care without consideration. The NHS is under tremendous pressure and there is only a finite amount of money. Before everyone starts foaming at the mouyth and screaming about me wanting to kill children, I would point out that this story is an example of blatant appeal to emotions in the face of cold, hard economics. So, let's throw thousands at caring for pre-term babies - but at the expense of what? Provision of midwives for mothers enduring difficult births?

Illustrating this story with such emotional imagery does nothing for this important debate and the Times should know better.

The Herceptin debate illustrated similar cock-eyed sentiment in the face of the facts. While the headlines screamed 'Breast cancer victim continues herceptin fight', perhaps they could have as easily read 'Medically unqualified voter demands thousands be spent on her while others die on the waiting list.' How many disabled children are denied the physio they need because money is being spent on vote-catching prescription? This man (see from 'Third Patient in....') is not getting the care he needs - and there are no headlines about him.

It is that simple, people - finite resources, and someone has to make choices. Pictures of babies help no-one in this debate.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


I don't often read the Torygraph but this is very good:
'It was about who really runs the schools in this country, and about how far militant Islam could go in bullying the poor, cowed, gelatinous and mentally spongiform apparatus of the British state.' Here.

What if a Pagan child demanded the right to manifest her religion by attending school skyclad?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Any day now

Something to look forward to following a dismal Six Nations and a horrible cold snap: Bliar (no spelling error) wil be off soon. Guido points out that, on the betting exchange Betfair, 'the odds on (Blair) going between April and June have dropped from 8/1 to 4/1 and between July and September from 10/1 to 6/1...'

The Nameless Tory and I have a long-standing agreement that, on the day TB leaves office, we will down tools ASAP and repair to a London hostelry for several bottles of champagne. You're all welcome! Please put your email address in the comments, and on that Glorious Day I'll let you know where we are. Or you could just listen out for the sounds of joyous, slurred singing and raucous laughter.

Only in Japan - aggrieved monks unionise.

If you are buying or selling a house any time soon, read this.

Friday, March 17, 2006


Tonight I shall be at the London showing of the 2005 Ig Nobel Tour, although regrettably without my beloved, who is ill. I shall feel suitably guilty about going! Anyway the event is here, and the awards here: my particular favourite out of the 2005 crop is the Economics Award:

ECONOMICS: Gauri Nanda of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for inventing an alarm clock that runs away and hides, repeatedly, thus ensuring that people DO get out of bed, and thus theoretically adding many productive hours to the workday.

Blogging here may become lighter as I am now collaborating with The Nameless Tory on the UK Democratic Forum, our attempt to derive some sensible policies. Please pop over if you get the chance. As the Nameless One is something of a Luddite I fear the technodrudgery may fall to me; 'twas ever thus that the proles do the backroom work while the moneyed classes do the talking......

Monday, March 13, 2006

Clarke runs from constituent

Rachel is one of the survivors of the July 7 atrocity. Her dad, a clergyman, tried to ask Charles Clarke why there hasn't been an inquiry yet. Clarke ran from him. Read it all here.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Thatcherism never existed

Wholesale post from the Nameless Tory.

OK, what is an “-ism” (or ideology)? In general it is defined as a reasonably coherent body of ideas propounded by a philosopher. Thatcher was not a philosopher, and would probably beat you to death with her handbag if you suggested that she was. The ideas that fall under Thatcherism actually come from a variety of different sources, including Hayek and supply side economists. The only reason why she believed in them is because the status quo, the post-war consensus, had failed and she was looking for other ideas. Had the consensus worked, she would have stuck with that. There was no particular commitment to the ideas and she did not have a coherent view of society. The policies she implemented were those that she thought were right for that period in time.

Also, the only person to really try and tie the Thatcherite ideals together was Sir Keith Joseph. So even if you do believe Thatcherism exists, it should be Josephism rather than Thatcherism. (As the BBC points out until he made the “our human stock is threatened speech” Joseph was the favourite to replace Heath as leader.)


Apropos of this over at the excellent Stumbling And Mumbling:

The Nameless Tory:

Undeniably interesting. But would dispute the historical accuracy of some of it.

In many ways Wilson was a proto-Blair. He was a creation of the media – someone who actively played up to it. He also watered down the beliefs of his party to make it more acceptable to the middle classes. He was undeniably a great public speaker, and used to warm up audience by rebutting heckles so they were fired up for the televised speech. But his time in office is fiercely average at best, hence the fact that he managed to lose to Heath in 1970 (and in terms of votes received, 1974 as well).

Also Attlee cannot really be considered great. He was a good manager, and certainly his first administration achieved the most of any prior to 1979. But his successes were mainly down to the likes of the brilliant Bevin, Bevan and Cripps. Likewise, MacMillan was a manic depressive arch cynic but like Attlee he was generally effective at managing people allowing his more brilliant subordinates to manage the country. Very few of the Prime Ministers have been the brightest and the best – and if we are going on academic background, Thatcher should also be classed as brilliant as she was Oxford educated and worked both as a research Chemist and Lawyer prior to entering Parliament.

It is quite interesting to note that the likes of Eden, Douglas-Home, Callaghan and Major can all be seen as failures – but this is generally down to the fact that they replaced popular Prime Ministers from their own party. There was nowhere left to go for any of them except to the centre ground, which leads them to try and make their mark on history with some bold idea/policy. Be it the Citizen’s Charter or Suez. It will be interesting to see what on earth Blair’s replacement does (and I do not accept a Brown coronation just yet) as Blair has already sat in the centre ground. To some extent it would go against historical precedent for the replacement to move towards the left, but I struggle to see, given Cameron’s commitment to wishy-washy conservatism, where else they can go.

With regard to the security issue, yes, there is an iron wall around Blair that Wilson did not have. But times are very different. There have been at least two credible plots (one by the IRA and one by Al-Qaeda) to kill Blair at public events. And there has been an extremely close call on a PM – the Grand bombing on Thatcher was just feet away from claiming her life. And Blair is still much more accessible than the US President, for example, who will enter and exit a building under a tent *just in case*.

The Moai:

I would argue that serious academic intelligence is almost a bar to a political career. Aside from the fact that the electorate by and large do not like openly scholarly characters (Clinton hid a world class mind behind public bonhomie and enormous charisma), intelligent people realise that real life is too messy, too complicated to be boiled down to quick fixes and one dimensional solutions (viz. my well worn theories on mental tools in problem solving.) Furthermore, in order to have the cast-iron self-belief you need to become a top-ranking politician, you must be incapable of doubt, and intelligence is, to my mind, at least partly, an acceptance of the sheer complexity of the world around you. Blair has cast-iron confidence - as he has recently stated, he thinks God himself is on his side, and that takes front - and that is why, by and large, he does well at PMQs, and made Major look so amateur in opposition. There is, however, a short push from self-confidence into hubris, and he has taken that jump.

Mangerialism in New Labour is endemic for a variety of reasons, not least that their top ranks are stuffed with ex-management consultants, and also that Blair et al are totally enamoured of big business.

The security issue also has negative impacts - witness Walter Wolfgang's hasty exit from the Labour conference, and subsequent detention under anti-terrorism laws.

Interesting points. Clinton is a highly intelligent man who combines intellect with good ol’ boy charm from the South. But he is not brilliant – he has some serious personality flaws, including a raging temper, jaw dropping self pity (note his tantrum in losing the governor’s mansion in 1980) and a uncontrollable libido based on poor self esteem that nearly cost him the White House.

I agree that you have to have an iron certainty in your beliefs to have the steely determination to get to the top. Thatcher had utter conviction that she was right, and that sustained her through some very tough times. It is interesting to note though that Blair has struggled against both Hague and Howard at PMQ – two men who were basically unelectable in spite of having iron convictions. The difference was that both Hague and Howard spoke from the heart, whereas Blair has had to water down his beliefs for the public. He is speaking from the heart through a spin doctor – witness Alastair Campbell’s''we don’t do Go'' pronouncement. Well, clearly Blair does.....

Perhaps the US security services could learn a lot from the US Secret Service. They maintain a highly visible presence but I cannot recall a time when they have done anything like the Wolgang moment. Probably the closest was their treatment of Hinckley. Then again, Hinckley had just shot the President in the heart so…

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Admitting it was a "political point", Mr Clarke said: "I think that was a serious mistake which you could not imagine happening in other countries ... certainly not in this country. It is a question of respecting others, and that means do not provoke or challenge the deeply held views of others."

It was Pol Pot's deeply held view that people who wore glasses were evil and should be shot. It was the July 7th bombers' deeply held view that the people on that train deserved to die.

I hate, hate, hate this mealy-mouthed crap and the people who spout it.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

To me - to you - to me - to the worker's collective.....

"The Chuckle Brothers' bungling is a manifestation of how two unskilled northern workers are unable to take pride in their work in a post-industrial society". Here.

Florida man beaten to death with a hammer in a row over bogroll.

Cannot come up with anything more coherent at the moment, incandescent with rage at

a) incompetence and mendacity at work

b) Tessa sodding Jowell

c) This: 'Shamsul admires the courage of Mohammad Sidique Khan, the leader of the (July 7th bombers)...'

Monday, March 06, 2006

There's trouble on campus, pa!

I work at a university. I just walked past the student union notice board. It seems they are organising an inter-society 5-a-side football competition. I note that the societies taking part include:

Sri Lankan Society
Tamil Soc
Islamic Soc
Christian Union
Jewish Soc

Is it just me, or is this a tremendously bad idea?

Currently reading: The Best of 'Dear Bill'. Utterly hilarious. Full of (what purports to be) dear old Dennis Thatcher's missives to Bill Deedes re; 'the Boss' (guess who), frightful old lefties and snifters on the links.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A bit of flag-waving

Dydd Dewi Sant Hapus, one and all!

I am pleased to see even Google is marking the occasion in their logo. If you do buy a daff to wear, please buy it from these people.

Today we celebrate the life of a saint (who actually existed, and lived in the country to which he is attached, as opposed to this man), and all things Welsh.

A day for singing, reading myths or poems, eating, and drinking this or that. I'll be here if anyone wants to come along!