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Friday, 26 February 2010

The limits of the State

Don't vent your anger at the death of Khyra Ishaq on the social workers. This seven year old child died weighing the same as the plastic water bottle by the side of your office water cooler, starved by mad and bad parents, but a ward of Labour's Leviathan State.

My anger is reserved for the smug piety of Harriet Harman and Ed Balls and a Labour government that has hastened to destroy all those horizontal ties of family, locality and community in favour of creating a direct vertical tie from the State to each individual. The atomisation, the anomie, the destruction of local institutions and references are the price Labour thinks worthwhile in achieving a society of individuals serving the State. The death of Khyra, the death of Baby Peterand the cruel and unreported deaths of scores or hundreds of little ones are socialism's tariff.

Labour's evil and inhumane dogma has abrogated from parents to the State the powers and duties of parenthood whilst criminalising the legitimate involvement of neighbours and community in family life. The next-door neighbour fears to 'keep an eye' lest they be arrested for voyeurism; the postman needs an enhanced CRB check (at a huge profit to private company ACPO to whom the government have given all rights to public information), the vicar is too busy with his self-interests on a gay-rights website to visit his parishoners, teachers fear even asking questions about their pupils' home lives lest they be branded -ists of some sort and the GP is a Sri Lankan locum who can't even find her way to the surgery without Sat Nav.

So the responsibilities of community leaders, neighbours, extended family and all the rest are vested instead in the State's proxy, the case social worker. Who can be ditched, abandoned and scapegoated in the instances of failure, to demonstrate that it is not the State that failed, or Labour's pernicious destruction of civil society, but some do-gooding ninny.

And when I see the smug grins on Brown's and Harman's faces I imagine them chuckling and back-slapping eachother as Khyra's pathetic little coffin is lowered into the earth, another victory for Socialist dogma.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Vintage Nigel

Enjoy 44s of Nigel being very rude to Herr Von Rumpy to warm up and then pour a glass of port and luxuriate in 9m of vintage Nigel destroying Von Rumpy and Nanny Ashton

Oh for a party with Dan Hannan, Nigel Farage and Norman Tebbit as members ....

Without history, our language will wither

The English language is without doubt the most advanced, the most sophisticated, the most expressive and the most beautiful tongue in the entire world. No other language comes close to the ability of English to express the depth and range of human emotion, shades and nuances of meaning, the subtlest distinctions, with brevity and elegance, prosaically, musically and with a delightfully lively cadence. It is our gift to the world from this sceptred isle. Quite rightly we regard the grunts, clicks and squeaks that lesser breeds call languages with derision. Let them speak English and at once their mental processes rise to a higher level; their tongues, lips and facial muscles move to new and exquisite rhythms as they produce from their mouths the sweetest of sounds - English.

Yet it is a language larded with the history of a thousand years, and not only simile but the understanding of the use of a single word depends on a knowledge of that history. Whether our political class have met their Waterloo and the sound of tumbrels is on the street, whether Brown has constructed a Darien economy, whether bloggers and the fifth estate hold a thin red line against the blood-dimmed tide, and exactly what is it that England expects all depend on a knowledge of history and English literature.

Without a knowledge of English history, the rich deep flavour of the English language becomes a thin and insipid brew, a thing suited to goat-herders and those who scrabble in the dirt with sticks.

Civitas are quite rightly promoting H.E. Marshall's 'Our Island Story' ; although written in 1905, it should be required reading not just for every English schoolchild but for every would-be immigrant and every language student embarking on the magical pleasures of learning English. I commend it.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Vote Labour - or we'll smash your iPhone

Just sayin'.

Brown goes viral

H/T Iain Dale

Oh, this is priceless! The Pacific rim is getting to know Gordon's disordered mental state courtesy of Taiwanese TV;

Sun Hill budget 2010 / 2011

Sun Hill is the fictional suburb that features in TV series 'The Bill'. It is within the fictional London Borough of Canley. We're not told the population, but London boroughs typically have a population of around a quarter of a million; if there were, say, ten neighbourhood areas within this each with a population of 25,000 this wouldn't be too far away. The cast is quite small; a Superintendant, a DI, an Inspector, two detective and two uniformed sergeants and six uniformed plods.

Our fictional Sun Hill is based on the small town of Vail in Colorado. Vail's police force has 31 officers and 32 support personnel and is run by the town council and paid for locally, and so does our fictional Sun Hill.

Our Sun Hill also runs its own Fire Brigade, parking, local buses, library, refuse collection, streets and public works, parks, determines its own planning and development policy and develops affordable housing for key workers. In fact, Sun Hill does everything we think of councils doing except highways major routes and education, which are managed at borough level (county level in the US). Here's where the money will come from in 2010/2011:

VAT - 4% VAT rate funds about 35% of Sun Hill's expenditure. The suburb levies local VAT, at a total rate of 8%. The balance of 4% is passed over to Canley Borough and the Mayor of London for education, major road routes and other services.
STAMP DUTY - A 1% flat rate Stamp Duty on all property transfers within Sun Hill. This funds 9% of the annual budget
COUNCIL TAX - A property tax that funds 11% of Sun Hill's budget. Sun Hill gets 10% of the total Council Tax take, the remainder going to Canley Borough for education and other services
UTILITIES TAX - Sun Hill levies a franchise fee on all utility companies operating in the area. Currently Thames Water, EDF, British Gas, BT and Virgin cable provide the bulk of the 8% of Sun Hill's budget that this produces
LICENCES AND PERMITS - Income from planning and building control fees, alcohol sales and other licensing, skip permits. Provides 2% of the annual budget.
PARKING - Income from car parks and permits and charges for on-street parking provides 12% of Sun Hill's budget
FINES, RENTAL INCOME & MISC - Fines, rents for council-owned properties including affordable housing and business premises and interest on balances and investments. Provides about 8% of annual income.
TRANSFERS - 10% of the annual budget comes back from Borough and London taxes including fuel duty, tobacco duty and vehicle excise duty
MISC - The balance of 5% is made up of charges for services to the public and other councils and minor income sources.

Those of you who have read the Lyons Report into local government funding must be thinking that the little town of Vail, which collects and administers the taxes and duties above, must be run by a race of superhumans; Lyons, after all, declared it was utterly impossible for small councils to collect taxes efficiently. The Treasury was absolutely certain in its evidence to Lyons that taxes could only ever be efficiently collected at a national level. Well, either the people running Vail are extraordinary or the Treasury and Lyons are wrong, and since there are 10,000 Vails all doing the same across the US, it doesn't take much nous to conclude that the Treasury is utterly mistaken in its advice to Lyons.

You'll also notice that our Sun Hill gets not a penny from income taxes, including NI, or corporation taxes. In our scenario, these are collected nationally and fund national goods - defence and the the legal system, with a proportion granted on to borough level to fund Welfare and the NHS, both functions administered at the level of our present unitary councils along with education.

You see, there are alternative ways of doing things; it's easy to be so hypnotised by the baleful weight of the Leviathan central State that the alternatives are hidden. But which of the three main parties will change London into a city of 330 Sun Hills?

Monday, 22 February 2010

Workplace bullying: A guide

Squaring the circle

I've got to sort out a little job this week that's not going to make me Mr Popular. The dilemma is summarised below. I'm hoping for the wind of inspiration to suggest a creative alternative, but need to avoid setting hares running. Oh well, it's what I'm paid for.

Bullying furore will haunt Labour

Ninety percent of the stuff on the political blogosphere never makes it through to the public consciousness; Brown's disordered mental state is not the talking point of the pub garden smokers' table. However, the revelations of Brown's bullying will be different. It's an issue that everyone will have witnessed or experienced, will generate a tsunami of calls to national and regional radio phone-ins today and the efforts of headteachers and others will be undermined by the example given by Brown.

Harriet Harman almost told the truth yesterday on R4's 'World at One'. She said 'These allegations are incredibly .... hurtful' with only the hint of a pause before 'hurtful' as she sought a word to substitute for 'damaging'.

For damaging is the reality. Brown's appalling oafish behaviour will lodge itself in the public consciousness and Cameron should keep poking at it. PM's questions this week will offer a good opportunity - and while we're at it, Cameron's impact at the dispatch box would be immeasurably enhanced if Osborne's sulky sixth-form face were absent from his side. Boy George sits there with a face like a slapped arse looking as though he's dying to pick at a zit but chuckling appreciatively at his prefect's wit. His presence at PM's questions has nothing but a negative impact on the impression Cameron makes.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

ACPO plods squander our tax for secret shag-pads

The sinister and shadowy ACPO, a body unaccountable to either Parliament or the public, has used part of the £33m a year paid to it by the Home Office to buy shag-pads in central London for its senior officers, reports the Mail.

This misuse of public funds proves yet again that senior plods can't be trusted with public money; it follows hard on the heels of the Met's credit card scandal, under which millions of Londoner's taxes were stolen by senior plods for their personal, non-work related use.

More reason than ever to abolish the anti-democratic cabal of ACPO, and to bring plod under tight, local, civilian control.

If Oaf Brown doesn't sue, it's all true

Britain has the world's most favourable libel laws for those libelled. Before the Observer published extracts from Andrew Rawnsley's book today, you can be sure every word was crawled over by the paper's libel lawyers; accusing a sitting Prime Minister of such thuggish, oafish behaviour that would have seen anyone else in front of an employment tribunal long ago cannot have been done lightly or negligently.

Rawnsley has described his sources as '24 carat', and the fact that we're reading details of Brown's disturbed and psychotic behaviour this morning supports that claim. Brown's counter-claim that it's 'All lies' can be discounted as a last desperate lie from a man unaquainted with the truth - and one action and one action only will demonstrate Brown's mendacity or otherwise.

If Rawnsley's story is untrue, Brown must sue. If he doesn't sue, we can all safely assume that every word is true.