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Saturday, 23 January 2010

Today I shall be .....

Taking a few snaps in W1

Cohen the Thief

It won't be long now before the man who can bill himself as 'Disgraced former MP Harry Cohen' can sign up for the after-dinner speaking circuit; for a few hundred quid, he will tell sometimes risque and sometimes funny stories to rugby club and golf club members and no doubt will become a better person than ever he was an MP.

Waste no sympathy on the man. Whilst he stuffed his mouth with taxpayers' gold, he was amongst those who devalued our democracy, destroyed our economy, fragmented our society and inculcated a corrosive culture of naked greed and self-interest. He deserves nothing but the obloquy of history and a leper's grave in the bleak Essex marshes. Cohen the Thief.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Labour MPs defend inequality

There is much squealing amongst Labour MPs at Conservative plans to effect democratic equality should they win the election. Labour are very happy with some sorts of inequality - particularly the inequality in our electoral quotas that makes a Labour vote worth up to five times more than a Conservative one.

Brown, whose essential crookedness and lack of moral scruples have allowed this corrupt and deeply unfair anomaly to continue whilst bleating about 'fairness' will no doubt join the Labour chorus pleading for their iniquitous advantage and inequality to continue.

The UK's inequality in electoral power is beyond third-world standards; as Michael Pinto-Duschinsky told the Graham Committee in 2006
If I can just give briefly the situation in, say, Australia where the system allows up to 3.5% deviation from an electoral quota, New Zealand up to 5%, Germany up to 15%, Canada up to 25% and Singapore up to 30%. We are beyond that so we are off the radar as far as international practice is concerned. I think that causes some real problems of mal-distribution of seats in Britain.
Pinto-Duschinsky also said that it was likely this situation "
is against OECD standards and, dare I say, the standards of the UN Committee on Human Rights, if that is a consideration. I think that it would also probably be against the UN Declaration of 1949 which says that elections have got to be fair."

So Comrades, inequality is OK, yah? Or is there a single Labourite who will stand up for justice and fairness?

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Welfarism drives inequality, Harman will be told

Professor John Hills' report for Harriet Harman is being flagged in the Guardian today as the new 'equality bible', but those who know Hills' work of old will expect something of a two-edged sword, and I shall read the report with great interest. If Hills is on form, the research will be shocking and the attribution to policy failure will be open enough to ascribe inequality to Welfarism. This, of course, is the last thing Harman wants. She may recall how her colleagues in the local government department buried Hills' last report on social housing because the findings effectively damned Labour's culture of Welfarism for ingraining poverty, worklessness and ill-health for those living in social housing.

Hills' housing report showed that:
  • The economic cost to the country of subsidised welfare rents is £6.6bn a year
  • We (the taxpayer) own £400bn in capital value of welfare housing, but our return on capital after management and maintenance is barely 1% per annum
  • It's a myth that council tenants all want to be owner occupiers; given the choice, 39% would prefer to stay as subsidised tenants
  • Barely a third of heads of welfare housing households are in full time work
  • One in eight private house moves are work related, but just a very few thousand moves a year amongst 4m welfare tenants are for employment reasons
  • Welfare tenants stay put in the same house for a very long time. Over twenty years, they will enjoy the benefit of subsidised rent worth £65,000 at Net Present Value.
  • Despite subsidised rents meaning that in theory it's much easier for a welfare tenant to move from benefits to work than for a private tenant, very few do so.
Amongst those of working age on welfare estates, around half are without paid work. Two groups predominate amongst these; those on incapacity benefit, and single parents. The higher-rate disability benefit is the holy grail of the long-term claimant.

The system itself, including welfare housing, actually creates the disadvantage and deprivation it is meant to tackle. The LSE report finds that if you have no qualifications, you will be 43% likely to be workless if you live in non-welfare housing, but 70% likely to be workless if you live in welfare housing. 35% of single parents outside of welfare housing are without work, but 64% of those in welfare housing are out of work.

Moving from benefits to paid work should be very much easier if your rent is only £35 a week; common sense suggests that those in private rented accommodation paying 3 times this at market rates should be the ones 'trapped' on benefits. Yet it is those in welfare housing that show a minimal propensity to make this move.

The Guardian says of the new Hills report that [Harman will argue] "that the evidence shows socio-economic background, not parental warmth, is the main determinant of an individual's success."

By rolling back the reach of Welfarism, by moving more people out of welfare housing and out of the benefit culture, by encouraging people to share in the dignity and belonging of work and self-responsibility, we can break the iron shackles of socio-economic background and move towards a nation where equality of opportunity, equity of life chances and real reward for real merit lifts the lives of all our people from the drear Welfare prison in which Labour's perverse policies would entrap them.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The naked Hun

(H/T Old Holborn)

The Hun normally keeps his clothes on until he reaches the ago of forty, and then you can't stop the bugger removing them. The whiff of a pine tree is enough, or the sight of a hill over 10m high. Off they come, great piles of brassieres and triple-strength Volk underpants strewn on the ground as Hun dugs swing free in the forests and wrinkled Hun buttocks frolic on the grass. Taking a quiet walk through BAOR training grounds, I was frequently assailed with the sight of whole families of naked Huns disporting themselves around the place. Not a pleasant sight for a young Englishman to witness. Thank God we won, or the buggers would be spreading acres of pimpled pink Deutchfleisch all over Hyde Park by now.

So it's hardly remarkable that the young Hun should protest against body scanners by, er, taking their kit off. It's the equivalent of having a library sit-in in Surrey. Oh, and safe for work - no nudity at all.

A message to the troops

The 'Mail' has picked up a story on the new 7.62 bore sharpshooter rifles to be issued to the army to augment their 5.56mm SA80s, of limited use when engaged with 7.62 AK47s at distance. Not that we've favoured a US weapon over the European Heckler & Koch, not at the slow roll-out, nor that some sticky-fingered civil servant has taken a Hamilton. No. It appears that the US maker of the optical sights has been including biblical references in the serial numbers; JN8:12 is quoted.

Sailors of course have been doing this for years, to send witty messages with an economy of morse or signal flags, so this is nothing new. Perhaps the CGS may consider Joel 2:25 "And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you."

But then given Gen Richards' chances of winning the defence review battle for more troops against the hi-tec toys of his blue counterparts, perhaps the Labour locusts and cankerworms will win after all.

Pic courtesy of MOD

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Sorry, Cadbury, but plastic cheese is a good wedding

There is much gnashing of teeth sucking of cavities today at the takeover of Cadbury by Kraft, makers of artificial plastic cheese. Quaker tradition yadda yadda. Heritage product yadda yadda.

Let's be truthful. Cadbury chocolate products are pretty awful. Pure Cocoa retails at about £18/kg - it's expensive. Which is why British chocolate contains as little of it as possible; it's a nasty profit maximising product that melts on your fingers at room temperature, whilst real chocolate does not. It's mixed with a host of cheaper fillers, chiefly sucrose, to bulk it up and it tastes like sewage sludge.

If you like chocolate, try Charbonnel et Walker. This is chocolate that will fire off taste receptors you didn't realise you had. Cadbury's Dairy Milk shouldn't even have the right to use the same name. When I unpacked 500g of cocoa the other day, the entire kitchen was filled with a rich, sensual, vanilla-packed saliva-inducing scent of cocoa powder ground so fine as to be explosive; whisked with scalded Jersey milk and Demerara sugar as a bedtime drink as you snuggle under the goose-down quilt, it beats (most) sex.

No, Cadbury and Kraft are a good match; makers of plastic artificial cheese, and makers of cocoa-flavoured artificial chocolate. Sorry.

Don't forget Hogarth's 'Beer Street'

In any MSM debate on alcohol, in addition to the mendacious consumption graphs exposed below (but repeated again today in the Times) , you are certain to see Hogarth's print 'Gin Lane' reproduced; you know the one - an inebriated slut with breasts exposed dropping her infant over a stair-edge. The MSM always seem to ignore the fact that Hogarth produced this as one of a complementary pair, and the other, 'Beer Street', was intended to show that getting merry on beer as opposed to gin was the healthy option; not that alcohol was bad, but that some alcohol was bad.

In Beer Street there is a hive of industry; new buildings are going up, built by ale-quaffing navvies; tradesmen carrying the marks of their trade enjoy a good laugh and a bit of slap-and-tickle - it's a celebration of our northern European English beer culture, long may it live. Wholesome. Healthy.

Both cartoons were produced in support of the Gin Act - an Act that sought to limit the damage done by the purveyors of cheap gin. Yes, we've been here before. In the 18th century we were still clever enough to realise the answer lay with restricting the supply of cheap gin, not with trying to stop the English drinking and having a bit of fun. Hogarth's message was simple - the problem wasn't alcohol, or its place in our lives, but cheap, irresponsible alcohol that poisons the feckless masses - the products of the multinational's research labs that produce cheap grain alcohol rainbow-coloured sweet drinks that appeal to the young, the stupid and those sans taste.

Cameron's 2:1 teachers

What's does a 2:1 guarantee these days? That the holder can probably write in cursive script (or joined-up writing as modern academics term it) and may even know that Rimbaud wasn't a US film character. No, these days one needs to insists on a master's at least to have a hope that the holder possesses some measure of academic nous. But need this be compulsory?

I am just old enough to have had masters who wore their 'stuff' gown to class, and one or two carried a cane. These were the brains. Then we had the characters - an ex submarine commander who taught maths in an idiosyncratic but highly effective way, a bluff ex-ICI research chemist who preferred to teach, a French master mentioned in dispatches for his counter-insurgency fighting in Malaya. Teaching to 'O' level needs a mix of the academic and the charismatic, and if the two aren't to be found in the same person then they should be present in the mix of the Senior Common Room. And I recall a large degree of collegiality amongst the masters; collegiality and tenure I think were the key to the way in which our teaching staff worked together as a finely honed machine.

Much of Labour's mismanagement of everything comes down to a socialist culture of managerialism, under which everything becomes a 'career' and nowhere is there room for a vocation. The best teachers are not those with double firsts, but those with a genuine vocation, who may even have eschewed careers elsewhere in order to teach.

The future success of all our schools is dependent on wresting interfering micromanagement from the hands of incompetent idiots such as Balls and giving headteachers, and their governing bodies, real independent control over their schools; recruiting teachers whose sense of responsibility towards their charges exceeds their career ambitions, allowing independent external exam boards to determine standards and curricula and giving parents real choice, through a voucher system, of school for their children.

The family, the first of those 'little platoons', is one of the bedrocks of a healthy society; the authority of local institutions, including schools, is another. Both have been grievously injured by Labour. I'm not sure that a 2:1 bar is the answer, but at least it demonstrates that Cameron's thinking is in the right direction.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

We're drinking how much?

Two graphs, and little comment. The first is the one the government generally use. The second is the more accurate reference point. Click on either to enlarge.

Labour's gulag apologists favoured by Gordon

I have pointed out on here frequently enough how Labour's arch saint, Nye Bevan, was an apologist, even a proponent, for Stalin's gulags at a time when that tyrant's genocidal intentions were well understood by the press. And I've blogged how Oswald Mosley, a Labour government minister and Nazi, was influential in establishing Labour's repressive agenda. Yesterday Guido condemned the Fabians in no uncertain terms;
For a century the Fabians have sought and sadly often succeeded in undermining the traditional family, property rights and individual freedom. Their cause is evil.
Guido is quite right.

It was Marx and Engels who introduced the notion of genocide to politics, and the Fabians who not only supported its fashionable offshoot, eugenics, but the selective murder of those who would not fit into the straitjacket of a Socialist State.

In 1933, in a preface to On The Rocks, Bernard Shaw derided the principle of the sanctity of human life as an absurdity to any good Socialist, calling for extermination to be put 'on a scientific basis'. Shortly after, in the Listener, Shaw wrote;
Appeal to the chemists to discover a humane gas that will kill instantly and painlessly: in short a gentlemanly gas - deadly by all means, but humane, not cruel. It might be useful in war, but if another war does not come, we shall find a use for it at home.
Shaw reasoned that to kill off the acquisitive classes is "quite reasonable and very necessary" since 'no punishment will ever cure them of their capitalistic instincts'.

Though Shaw was more concerned with the extermination of the idle, the unfit and opponents of Socialism, he defended the rights of the Nazis to exterminate the Jews - but preserving the clever ones. Writing to Beatrice Webb in 1938, he said;
We ought to tackle the Jewish question by admitting the right of States to make eugenic experiments by weeding out any strains they think undesirable, but insisting they do it as humanely as they can afford to
With a 'humane lethal gas' no doubt?

Along with Shaw, the Webbs and HG Wells, even Virginia Woolf was a supporter of State murder; after passing a line of the profoundly mentally ill, she wrote "Imbeciles - every one of them a miserable, ineffective, shuffling, idiotic creature. It was perfectly horrible. They should certainly be killed."

If the Conservatives had a group with these antecedents, does anyone seriously imagine that the Conservative leader would allow them to continue inside the party? Still less, would choose to visit their conference to launch the most mendacious and unbelievable piece of policy spin since Goebbels declared himself a true friend of the Jews?

That Gordon favours this evil cabal says much more about Gordon than anything else. And Cameron should allow his real ire to show; these very Fabians would have killed the late Ivan Cameron with their 'humane lethal gas' long before he passed on in God's time and in the arms of his loving parents. They are evil indeed.