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Saturday, 15 August 2009

MPs, not social workers

A paid political post is not a job. Even Matthew Parris, in an otherwise well-reasoned piece in the Times this morning, makes the mistake of referring to MPs' 'second jobs', with the clear implication that being an MP is the first. This misnomer has led to a raft of silly suggestions over the past months; that MPs should have a career structure, a starting salary with annual increments dependent on good behaviour and adequate performance and other appurtenances of regular employment. This all appears sensible to those who see politics as a profession much like becoming an estate agent. It also suits those who, as Parris also recognises, are turning Parliament into a paid wing of the central State, with Parliamentarians becoming ever more like any other civil servants.

These are the machinations of the loathsome political class.

If you were to ask ordinary people what they imagined an MPs' job was, no doubt they would place social work functions high on the list; they are there to help you get a bigger council house, get you more generous welfare benefits, help you jump the public service queue, galvanise the local council into action, run extra buses on a busy route and such-like things. The paradox of course is that MPs are providing diminishing returns; the more powerless they become in the chamber, the more marginalised and 'professional' they become, the less weight their letters carry. In giving up their power to hold the executive to account, in abandoning their role in determining great national issues, they have also become ineffective social workers, their pleas to the council or the bus company or the local hospital on behalf of their pleaders increasingly ignored.

A central State and its central parties are content to fill the chamber with talentless blow-ins, creeps, narcissists, careerists and venal and corrupt nonentities just as long as they walk into the right lobby at the right time. But this is not in our interests, and not in the nation's interests.

We must recognise that our liberty depends on strong and independent MPs not reliant on party for election or preferment, MPs who come to the House with a real trade or profession and not 'political researcher' or 'political organiser' as so many are now. And MPs who when they are not engaged in the business of Parliament have time if they wish to continue to pursue their trade or profession. The social work can be done by any fool.

Friday, 14 August 2009

OK, so what would you do?

Feridon Rostami is an Iranian Kurd who smuggled himself into Harwich in a truck in 2005. By 2006 his claims for asylum had failed and he was ordered to be deported. He escaped to Ireland and tried to claim asylum there, but was sent back to the UK. Since then he has mostly been in immigration detention.

The problem is that Rostami won't co-operate in the process to send him home. This is a criminal offence, and he was duly convicted and sentenced to eight months. Then he went straight back into immigration detention. He can't be let out with a tag, because he would remove it. He can't be let out with orders to report daily to a police station, because he would abscond. He still refuses to cooperate in some essential part of the process to deport him.

His latest appeal was heard by Mr Justice Foskett on 4th August. I'm not going to slate his Lordship's judgement; read the case yourself, look at the legal arguments and just think what you'd do in the circumstances.

The end result is that Rostami has now spent 34 months in detention and there is no realistic prospect of deporting him in the near future without his cooperation, and that without that prospect his continued detention cannot be justified. Judge Foskett therefore reluctantly ordered his release, but has given the Home Office 28 days, until the begining of September, to come up with something before his order takes effect.

The deportation process is clearly flawed, and this may be beyond our control - it seems the Iranian authorities will not take him back without the document that refuses to co-operate in creating.

Just what does a highly civilised, humane but grossly abused nation such as ours do in such circumstances?

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Desai: No such thing as an end to boom and bust

Lord Desai has ridiculed his leader's pretentious claims to have ended boom and bust in the absence of external economic shocks. In a letter to the Economist Desai writes:
SIR – When I was a student we studied business cycles, but the topic disappeared with the rise of mathematical equilibrium theorising. The idea that capitalism is an equilibrium system is common among Keynesian and neoclassical economists; they only differ as to whether the equilibrium is at full employment or under employment. The grand synthesis being taught makes the equilibrium stochastic and dynamic, but that is all.

Capitalism is, however, a disequilibrium dynamic stochastic system as Marx, Wicksell, Schumpeter and Hayek have told us over the past two centuries. Richard Goodwin tried his best to present a mathematical theory of such a disequilibrium system. After this crisis we need to revive that tradition if we are not to be surprised by another crisis.
In other words, boom and bust IS the equilibrium economic state, even in the absence of external shocks, and all Gordon Brown's self-delusion will never change that. What a damned useless fool that man is.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Weaner rations

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

Bring back DDT

DDT may not have been the friendliest chemical about, but its effects were always far better than dying in agony from Malaria. Its ban was a retrograde step for humanity, but the good news is that it could be swiftly and effectively reintroduced. Back in the 1960s, by spraying the Malaria swamps with DDT, we pretty well had the disease under control. Then it all changed.

As the Indie reports today, the evolution of a Malaria parasite that has developed immunity to our most effective anti-Malarial drug must be on concern to us all. Even in Europe. Mussolini helped clear Italy of Malaria during the Fascist era, but if climate change means that it's moving north again, before long they'll be hanging mosquito nets in Lewes and Gillingham.

The problem is, to revert the parasite back to type, to keep the effectiveness of our sole anti-Malarial, we need to allow a million Cambodians to die in agony. This can save many millions of Africans, and perhaps our European children too.

But if we end the global ban on DDT imposed by the Stockholm Convention, the price may be much, much lower.

The return of Parker-Morris

It's curious how time changes our interpretation of government regulatory measures such as the Parker-Morris standards; today they seem to be quoted as government intervention to impose minimum space standards in housing. In reality, they were developed to impose maximum space standards for public housing, along with a huge improvement in the quality of structure and fabric.

Public housing should be of high quality, the committee decided. They set criteria for heating, light, ventilation, sanitation and services including storage space for a single galvanised steel dustbin. But they also realised as good economists that if the build-quality of public housing exceeded that of private housing, then demand would increase. So in order to regulate demand, room sizes were reduced to be just big enough, with not an inch to spare, for the activities they would accommodate.

Of course, private house builders have now caught up, and for decades have been squeezing room space down to rabbit hutch dimensions. At the same time, our furniture has been growing. A Parker-Morris sofa for a two-bed dwelling was supposed to be about 4'9" long, not 7'. And a 4' wide TV screen was unimagined. (For our metric readers 1.45m, 2.1m and 1.2m).

English Partnerships, the quango that owns large chunks of Brownfield Britain, has already imposed a space standard of Parker-Morris +10% on all developments on its land, and Boris is working on a design guide for new London housing that has the same effect. You may, if you are an absolute free-marketeer, deprecate this State intervention in the market; you may hold that if private homes are too small, people won't buy them, and the market is therefore self-regulating, and this may be true. However, if social housing is demonstrably more spacious, then demand for it will increase - the reality understood by the Parker Morris committee all those years ago, and therefore Boris' market intervention will help reduce demand on public housing.

A Parker-Morris sized living room

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

If Oswald Mosley had stayed in the Labour party ...

Stories bubbling around the papers are suggesting Ed Balls sees himself as Labour's heir to Nye Bevan. Bevan, of course, was highly supportive of his fellow Labour MP and Minister, Oswald Mosley. Had Mosley remained in the Labour party, his strident support of National Socialist ideas could have driven the party, with the useful support of those such as Nye Bevan, in a very different direction to that in which Atlee took it.

Mosley, as Labour member for Smethwick and Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster in MacDonald's 1929 government,
formulated much Labour policy that remains on the agenda of leftists such as Ed Balls today. Dick Crossman in 1961 described Mosley's plans for the party as "Brilliant ... a whole generation ahead of Labour thinking"; amongst other measures, he advocated nationalisation of industry and the banks, and a massive scheme of public works and public spending to tackle unemployment. Both are measures with which neither Bevan nor his self-identified successor Balls would quibble - and both measures were used with some temporary success by Labour's German counterpart National Socialists during the 1930s.

Will Balls, like Bevan and Mosley before him, seek to take Labour in a more leftish and State Authoritarian direction than it wants to go? And wi
ll he survive it? Mosley left to form his own New (Labour) Party, and Bevan and his Bevanites failed to turn Attlee, and Gaitskill eventually saw him off in 1955. It's fascinating to think that had Mosley remained in the Labour Party, it could be sporting today a rather different symbol to that of the red rose ...

Baby Peter: The ladder to climb

Guthrum eloquently pretty much sums up what I feel about the news 'outing' of the adults directly responsible for Baby Peter's murder. Yes, and each and every one of us is culpable for accepting the degenerate and immoral system of Welfare Statism that was largely responsible for the suffering and death of that poor child.

When Beveridge declared war on the evils of Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness he was making a moral judgement on the wrongs of the underclass lifestyle; he didn't urge us to accept in an inclusive and non-judgemental way the lifestyle choices of whores, deviants, bullies, thieves and the brutish and chaotic lives of those at the bottom of society. Mandelson can hold his fragrant posy to his noble nose as he returns to his Regent's Park mansion to waft away the stench of failure, corruption and moral decay that defines this Labour administration, but in filthy welfare slums across the nation thousands remain locked in a grinding, hopeless welfare slavery of Labour's making.

Labour has lost all sense of morality; Brown has been sitting on his moral compass so long the Magnetite has penetrated his soul. The party that Wilson once described as 'a moral crusade or nothing' has lost the courage to speak morality to its client dependency, and it has done so for naked votes and political power. Labour has betrayed Beveridge.

It's now time for other parties to take up Beveridge's moral crusade - parties unafraid to speak right and truth, parties unafraid to impose standards of morality and behaviour on the degenerate, the wicked and the spongers, parties willing to withdraw moral and financial support from the worst of the underclass, and offer them instead a ladder and the means and encouragement by their own diligence and efforts to climb it.

Monday, 10 August 2009

MA is the new BA

Lunching last week with a young external member of one of my teams, he remarked that his firm were no longer taking graduates with only a first degree; not until entrants had gained their master's did the firm find they had the requisite skills to make good professional employees. It was a purely economic decision.

Back in my day, only some one in twenty of us went on to university. I suppose the number of young people taking their master's must now be something in this region, and that holders of MAs and MScs now fill the posts that BAs and BScs did then. Like poverty, academic attainment is relative, not absolute.

A throw-away comment from Rees-Mogg in the Mail that ten history undergraduates at a leading university were between them unable to name a single nineteenth century Prime Minister is profoundly depressing. I'd have imagined that most people would have got Gladstone and Disraeli, many could have named Salisbury or Melbourne, and a few would have known Pitt, Wellington, Grenville, Portland, the unfortunate Spencer-Percival, Liverpool, Canning, Goderich, Grey, Peel, Russell, Derby, Aberdeen, Pam or Rosebury. That they are more familiar with Hess, Goering, Himmler and Goebels points to a profound failing in our education system.

Prodnoses rack up half a million intrusions

It was this Conservative election poster from half a century ago that saw the way things would go under Labour. Today we learn that State prodnoses racked up over 504,000 snoops last year under RIPA. The State is also to go ahead with keeping details of every email and every web site visited by each of us.

A weak and vacillating Parliament infested with third-rate party blow-ins and corrupt narcissists, a judiciary emasculated by European law and a populace not yet angry enough to take direct action has allowed a venal and mercenary civil service and a predatory State to intrude where they have no business and snoop and peek like onanistic perverts behind the curtains of the nation.

A future government should restrict the exercise of these powers to warrants issued by a magistrate. The threat of terrorism cannot cover the activities of some anally retentive jobsworth from the local education department spying on parents making school applications, or some shiny-arsed nonentity chasing litter-droppers, which are the sort of activities many of these intrusions will turn out to be.

Enough is enough. Let's expose the prodnoses - and spit on their shadows.

Note to Labour thickos: Simian doesn't mean black

The same sort of people who throw stones at paediatricians' windows after a kiddy-fiddling story are running the union Unison, it seems.

At school, our sixth-form boarding house was flanked by a pair of superb Monkey Puzzle trees, so named because the horizontal arrangement of branches would tax the abilities of even the most agile simian to climb. Unison would have us believe they were so-called because they were a barrier to black people. You see, in Unison's thick as a brick collective mind, monkey = black person. This is institutional racism at its very worst. Most normal, balanced non-racist people wouldn't even think of linking the two - but the analogy is so deeply buried in Unison's conscience they reckon everyone else must think it, too.

So when three of their own officials accused the union executive of being like the three wise monkeys - a simian simile from Buddhist folklore - they were immediately accused of calling Clytus Williams, the black chairman, a monkey.

You'd need a heart of stone not to laugh.