Friday, February 25, 2011

The future's bright. The future's license plates

Note: Big Brother was not involved in this post.

Serial rapist on "day release"?

In light of the fact that a convicted murderer has been charged with killing a convicted paedophile - a justice of sorts which some may think ought to have been enforced by the state in the first place - the Sun has a rather worrying tale this morning.

Apparently a serial rapist - who committed his offences against six woman and was told by the judge he should be kept away from women for 30 years and given six life sentence in 1988 - is being taken out daily to do a job in a sofa shop.

Justice huh?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

#Yes2AV totally busted?

Following on from the last post about the AV campaigns,Ed Howker has an impressive tale over at the Spectator about how the Yes2AV campaign has a rather amazing financial conflict of interest in its funding stream.

Rarely do I cut and paste large sections of articles, but what has been written should be read more widely.

What I [Ed Howker] found reveals a catalogue of undeclared donations, hidden money trails and one massive conflict of interest of such comical proportions that even Berlusconi would blush. It shows, in effect, that the largest single donor to the 'Yes' campaign is Britain's no1 vendor of ballot papers and vote counting services – a massively profitable outfit whose commercial interest in a new, complicated Westminster voting system is clear.

Last week, the Electoral Reform Society – the organisation really in charge of the referendum campaign – admitted to making a donation of £1.05 million to it, but not only do internal Society documents show that they have really donated much more, they’ve also been less than open about the real source of their funding.

First, let’s examine the “£1.05 million” claim. Well, this turns out to be an admission of only one fraction of the Society’s involvement. The internal documents show their assistance is two pronged – consisting not just of the cash donation they have admitted to, but also an entirely separate gift of staff and resources that has not been publicly declared. This support, which extends to the secondment of more than a dozen paid staff, means that well over half the resources used to fund the Yes campaign are being directed by the Electoral Reform Society.

Now let’s turn to the “£1 million” donation. The Society turns out to be the majority shareholder in Britain’s leading and highly profitable supplier of election services, and its dividends are funding the campaign. The business, which is called Electoral Reform Services Ltd, turns over £21m. As the piece says:

"There is almost no aspect of our democracy ERSL’s services do not touch – their stationary and postal voting packs, poll cards and ballot papers are used in parliamentary, European and local elections. They have already been awarded to contract to administer the 2012 Mayoral election using electronic counting machines. So, should Britain decide to hold more complex elections as with the Alternative Voting system, ERSL could be well-placed to receive the contracts."

So the company in charge of administering the referendum on AV is itself funding one side of the campaign. As the internal documents from the Society state, “it is possible that ERSL will profit as a result of a YES vote (increased business opportunities).” And if ERSL profits then so will the Electoral Reform Society, which is currently straining its resources to persuade Britain to vote Yes. This is a financial conflict of interest of the very gravest kind.
Total ownership. Totally busted?

The pathetic hypocrisy of the Yes and No campaigns

Politics, as I so often point out is full of such much rank hypocrisy it really does become absurd in the extreme sometimes and today is no different. In fact, today is especially funny because we have a convergence between the debate over the "cuts agenda" and the "AV referendum", and I'm rather pleased to say it all revolves around my personal little equation (which should really be given a name) that goes:

Ul = c \ uc

That is, an argument will be deployed that talks of an arbitrary unit loss (Ul), which is calculated by taking the value of a proposed cut (c) and dividing it by the unit cost (uc) of the given arbitrary thing. For example, if the unit cost of one teacher is £1, and a cut of £1000 in back office functionality is proposed, then it will be argued that the cut means a loss of 1000 teachers.
You see, yesterday we heard much about a False Economy report which played loose and fast in some places with the little cut over unit cost is equal to unit loss, and, quite rightly, it was slated by the target of the report, the Coalition.

But, we also saw the No2AV campaign come under fire too, because it was playing with the equation too if we change the meaning of "c" from cut to cost.Their argument in adverts was that the referendum cost (c) could be shown to represent a unit loss (Ul) if it was arbitrarily divided by the unit cost (uc) of a chosen emotive subject, like say a cardiac unit for a premature/ill baby - complete with picture of baby natch!

Naturally this has led to much screaming from the Yes campaign about how No2AV is disgustingly pushing a "vote No or the baby dies" line. Will Straw is busy posting on Twitter for example saying that political advertising should conform to decent standards and the same rules as other forms of advertising.

He's also posted on Left Foot Forward about how this is "the nasty campaign" and it's hit an "all time low". Now, he's probably got a point there. Political advertising that plays loose and fast with figures and pushes arbitrary extrapolations probably shouldn't be something we should expect.

However, you have to wonder whether Will Straw and other's sudden conversion to requirement decency has been brought about by a brief bout of memory myopia, because I don't remember any of the Yes supporters condemning the following little advert that pushed a "Vote Labour or you'll die of cancer" line during the election campaign. If I remember rightly, anyone who had an issue with it was displaying faux outrage especially if they were not on the Left.


Now,I'm not going to accuse the Labour-led*** Yes2AV campaign of trying to appear "super-outraged" to use a Sunny Hundal term but rather I'm going to point out how ridiculously fucking absurd they're being.

Not only are they complaining that No2AV are using spurious logic that they also use in relation to the impact cuts. They're also rather miffed that the No2AV campaign are doing political advertising that they themselves have supported in the past.

Let's be clear right now. Both sides are being fucking morons, and both sides need to grow the fuck up.

*** The use of the term "Labour-led" is a deliberate piss-take out of the way people like Will Straw call the the No campaign "Tory-led" when it is clear that both campaign are cross-party in their make-up, and "evidence-based blogger" should stick to reality.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Quick question about Libya.....

Currently there are a few people getting up in arms (if you pardon the pun) about Libya buying weapons from the UK, weapons which, notionally at least are now being used to crush political dissent etc. Cue "blood on their hands" type argument etc.

So I'm wondering, if, and it remains a big if of course, but if Britain along with some other nations, with or without a UN Resolution, decide that is enough is enough with Qaddafi and that it's time for military intervention, will the same people start marching saying "not in our name"?

We've been here before of course with other such incidents where the logic of the "liberal Left" flows something like this.

  1. Outrage at despotic leader killing civilians usually with a nod to how it's all the West's fault really for either selling the despot arms or turning a blind eye because of some shallow self-interest.
  2. Outrage when West intervenes because it's nothing short of imperialism and we wouldn't be in this situation if it wasn't for the West in the first place, and look at how they're now killing innocent civilians trying to take out the leader we were complaining about earlier. Try them for war crimes!!!
Just saying.

The cock jockey and his "theories"

Given all the fun going on in Libya at the moment, I just wanted to post about something that for many will be tedious, and for some will result in the comments such as "why do you bother paying attention to him" or "well I think he's quite quite loopy", but I sadly, just can't help myself when the person in question posts such nonsense.

Over the past few years now it's happened quite a few time that Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads has done the aforementioned nonsense thing, whether it be directed at me, Guido Fawkes, Iain Dale, Nadine Dorries etc. The last of these being his latest bête noire.

Now I guess, at this moment, I need to do a declaration of interest thing. I do, shock horror, know Nadine Dorries. Ergo whatever I post is dismissed by Tim Ireland with ad hominen argument, but, the real irony is that it is only because of him that even I know her.

Brief background for you, some years ago, a website appeared that was libelous against Nadine. Tim Ireland, amongst others, believed that the site was set up by Nadine supporters with the deliberate intention of blaming left wingers for it and getting them to repeat libel. Tim Ireland decided, in his infinitely sane wisdom, to imply I was behind it, and so I came into contact with Nadine.

If you wish to read that little online saga then click the following link about Tim Ireland's bullshitting. For further background, if you're truly bored, check out "Tim Ireland tells lies shock!" about how Iain Dale offered to help Tim and had it thrown back in his face.

What we essentially have with Tim Ireland is one of those online characters who likes to leaps to conclusions because he's already decided what the truth is. He thus fits what he sees into that "truth" more often than not. He's also not a fan of Nadine on a personal and political level, recently he did a post about her suggesting that she personally hated him because she believes she's doing God's bidding.

That the Police from her constituency traveled all the way down to where he lives in South England to talk to him about his behaviour towards her, as reported here, after he insisted that she was lying about even having spoken to the Police may well have had something to do with his dislike for her too.

So anyway, that little bit of background over, the latest "conclusion jump" revolves around the decision of someone who was employed by Nadine Dorries to resign, as reported the other week, in the Beds on Sunday. Click the following if you really want to read the latest Tim Ireland Conclusion Jump™.

OK, now you've read that, and if you didn't because of the boringly dense way he writes, his "argument" (and use the quote sparingly) goes thus.

  1. Feb 9th: Nadine Dories says on Twitter she had one-to-one meeting with David Cameron the previous day of the 8th.
  2. Feb 13th: Beds on Sunday reports Nadine aide who Tim has shown interest in and implied corruption about resigns.
  3. Ergo: David Cameron has reined Nadine in, told her to let one of her paid staff go, all because of his sterling investigative work, and Nadine and Co are trying to smear him as cover.
Now, let's just go on a journey to that wonderful place we all call "reality" and be blunt. The previously mentioned aide, who cited intrusion into her personal life, resigned not after Nadine had a meeting with David Cameron but before, the day before in fact, on the 7th.

I did decide to point this out to Tim Ireland on his site, but he doesn't publish my comments. Instead he passed comment on the comment in an update, calling me a "thug" and rather bizarrely suggesting that I was operating for Nadine and was sent by her to point it out.

That I was sitting in my home office on Saturday morning and just happened to spot a gaping hole in Tim Ireland's latest bullshit can never be the truth you see. There's always something more, after all, there is some sort of disjointed campaign against him that involves bloggers, MPs (some guided by God apparently), Cabinet ministers and people related to others in Downing Street.. this even goes right up to the top at Google you know but I digress!

Having pointed out to Tim he's talking bullshit (again), he went with his modus operandi, that, when faced with something that disputes his world view, he changes the question. He did so this time with the caveat demand that the answer must come from someone else*** because I am, you see, a thug.

Incidentally, and as an aside, please note that I will not, like Tim Ireland, be starting a massive Internet campaign via Twitter etc because he has, to use his word, "smeared" me as a "criminal, who treats others violently and roughly, often for hire. Often a member of a gang, as an enforcer in organized crime, and misdemeanor". Life is too short to waste that much time on a hypocritical cock jockey right? A simply paragraph will do.

So, back to the subject at hand, Tim Ireland's latest "theory" and question switch. Not content you see that the woman resigned before Nadine Dorries saw David Cameron, the cock jockey's ego sneeked in and he changed the question - that I am not allowed to answer for he so commands it like King Cnut commanding the tide*** - to the following,
"does Lynn Elson claim to have resigned before or after the ‘Go Compare’ article was published?"
Loosely translated this question should actually read as,

Even if David Cameron didn't tell her to let her the woman go, I bet she still went after I (me, yes me, look at me, over here), posted my long expose into her criminal corruption and she's lying (LYING I TELL YOU *stamps foot*) if she tries to blame any other reason... so there!
Now, I can't possibly speak for Lynn Elson, I've never met or spoken to the woman. In fact, I didn't even know who she was until the other week. However, what I do know is this. Tim Ireland (the cock jockey) posted his article on the following date and time:

The aforementioned aide to Nadine sent her resignation citing personal life intrusion, as later reported by the Beds on Sunday, at 12:15:42 on Monday 7th February.

So errrr.... the answer is.... she resigned 2 hours, 31 minutes and 18 seconds before the article that Tim Ireland seems to think is the true reason for her resignation.

I have no doubt the direction of "questioning" will change again now in order to satisfy the presumed conclusion that the former aide has only resigned because she's guilty of some sort business malpractice and dodgy appropriation of public money, rather than as a result of her personal circumstances and intrusion into her personal life as stated in her resignation letter and told to the local press.

My guess is that it will be something along the lines of, "I was investigating, she preempted me after she found out I had phoned people she knew personally", then again, if he did that it might reinforce the view that her personal life was being intruded so perhaps not. Either way, the argument will change so he's still right.

I expect too that by me having the audacity to post and call Tim Ireland out on his bullshit again, will also be held against me by him as further evidence of an orchestrated smear campaign against him. That he is plain wrong with his inferences drawn from faulty presumptive evidence (that's called conjecture incidentally) will not be considered, but hey ho!

Incidentally, I would like to point something rather important out.

I don't think Tim Ireland is dangerous in any physical sense whatsoever, and anyone who uses his behaviour to justify some sort of vigilante harassment of him is out of order. The problem is, he's just a cock who lacks the emotional intelligence required to acknowledge and understand the reaction he sometimes receives from those he "investigates" because he's not an accredited member of the press.

*** The joy of being independent is that I do not act for anyone, no matter how much someone may try to falsely claim otherwise. As per previous posts about Tim Ireland (aka cock jockey) it is far more fun to simply point out his errors of my own accord, and anyone who thinks I am doing otherwise really doesn't know me as well as they think they do. And with that, I leave the cock jockey with a song to ponder upon.



Note: I'll probably be slated as homophobic or smearing him now as well for calling him a "cock jockey". You must never call anyone you think is an idiot a name you see.

Update 12:13pm: As predicted Tim's response to this has been to change the question, this time essentially saying "ahhh but was it before a different post". Sadly for him the post he's now citing as some sort of cause is one in which his own readers point out to him that his assertions are flaky, and also in which he says he has confirmed that someone's business address is also their residential address, which, naturally you understand did not involve any personal intrusion in anyway and was merely a step on the way to his seeking the truth for which he knows he is right.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Scaffolder humour huh?

Spotted this at the bottom of the M1 this morning. Naturally I sniggered because I'm puerile.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A decent cut (of meat) from the Coalition?

How errrr interesting...... it seems the numbers of horses slaughtered for human consumption in the UK went up sharply in 2010.

Not only do the bastard evil Tories eat babies, they eat horses too... no doubt whilst quaffing on champagne with the evil Lib Dems.... did I mention that they're all EVIL?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Balls accused of bad debts and thieving....

Oh dear me, poor old Ed Balls is in a bit of a pickle. Not content with complete denying he had anything to do with the Government ejaculating money it didn't really have like a 13 year old that's just discovered what he can produce from his body, he's also refusing to pay off his own debts to the landlord of his former constituency office which he left in a state according to this morning's Mail.

As any student will tell him, when you rent a place to live you make an agreement to leave it in the state you found it, and, if you don't, then the Landlord can withhold your deposit and also if necessary claim for more if you're particularly poor tenants.

For example, removing the burglar alarm that the Landlord says is his, and saying that it's actually yours, might not be a good move.

It seems that all this boils down to is £1,966 in allegedly owed rent and the cost of making Balls' former constituency office good once more. Ironically, Balls has put out a statement saying "The bottom line is that there will be no payment of taxpayers’ money that is not justified".

Now, I may be wrong on this, but as this was his constituency office until the election was called, at which point his constituency disappeared and he vacated the premises, then it probably shouldn't be taxpayers money that pays for it but rather him personally or his local party because he wasn't an MP when he left.

Then again this is Ed Balls we're talking about, and he doesn't exactly have form for spending his money does he?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What was the question again?

As per the last post we have another nifty spot by a reader. Looks like someone may not have been listening properly.... or they're just a politician and to used to answering the question they want too?

Kris Hopkins (Keighley) (Con): What recent progress his Department has made in recouping outstanding financial penalties that remain uncollected by HM Courts Service.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Jonathan Djanogly): We have published impact assessments and equality impact assessments alongside the legal aid consultation, and these set out in detail what we think the effects of the proposals might be. We must face up to tough choices, and our proposals focus resources on those who need help most for the most serious cases in which legal advice and representation are justified.

Kris Hopkins: I think that was the wrong answer to my question. I hope the Secretary of State has made progress in collecting the money that criminals have been fined, and may I ask that once we have collected some of the money and we have made a contribution to reducing the deficit, we increase our prison capacity?

Mr Speaker: Order. The Minister delivered his answer with admirable force and self-confidence, but I think it suffered from being the wrong answer, as he was, perhaps, not expecting to be responding to this question. If he can provide us with the right answer to the question now, we will be very grateful.

Mr Djanogly: I think the appropriate answer in the circumstances, Mr Speaker, is that we will look into this issue and get back to the House.
Personally speaking, the appropriate answer ought to have been "oh bugger" but hey ho!

Fact Check: Jon Snow

A reader alerts me to something worrying from Channel 4 News. Apparently, last night Jon Snow told the nation,

"A year ago a loaf of bread would have cost 75p, today £1, a 25 per cent increase"
In other news....


Update: Apparently, according to comments below, an apology was made about this complete maths failure.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Silvio in the dock.... again?

Just a quick comment this morning as I'm rather busy right now, however, I was rather amused to hear the news yesterday about Silvio Berlusconi. What amused me specifically was that one of the charges was apparently having six with an under age prostitute.

The "crime" wasn't having sex with a girl under the age of consent, no it was having sex with a girl who did not meet the legal requirement of 18 to be prostitute. You have to love Italy sometimes huh?

Of course, the most interesting aspect is how they intend to prosecute him. He denies having sex with her and she denies having sex with him, so unless there were some voyeurs watching or we're about to see video evidence (you'd think it would;ve ben leaked already) then it's gonna be tough one surely?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Polly Toynbee does the Lambeth walk (out of the door)

Everyone loves bashing the idea of the "Big Society" these days, personally, for me it's quite obvious what it means, and frankly, only a complete moron wouldn't be able to spot it. It's a two words catchphrase to encompass the bit in bold in the following quote that people all too often forget.

And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations.
Simples, no?

Anyhow, I digress. Those that like to bash the "Big Society" are, as you would expect, are Labour and its assorted supporters on the Left. Polly Toynbee being a case in point, calling it "magical thinking", a "big fat lie" and a "busted flush".

You see, Polly says its all about the middle-classes and simply ignores the needs of the people that really need help. Thus, when the Labour-controlled Lambeth Council launched its "John Lewis council" riposte to Cameron's Big Society, the erstwhile Ms Toynbee, a Lambeth resident, got herself appointed to what was eventually called the Lambeth Co-operative Council Citizens' Commission, which is,

Lambeth's big idea for local government.It's about giving people more involvement and control of the services they use and the places where they live by putting council resources in their hands.
Yes, who could possibly question Polly Toynbee's commitment to civic duty in the area that she lives?

You see, Polly was so concerned about her local community, and so committed to showing that the left had a much better answer to local problems she managed to give her all into these wonderful project..... oh... no... wait, I;m wrong, she didn't.

You see, a prole has had the temerity to ask Lambeth Council a question through the Freedom of Information Act. How many meetings - asked the cheeky commoner - of the Lambeth Co-op Citizen's Commission has the passionately caring Polly Toynbee actually attended since her appointment in July 2010? The answer?

One, and then she quit.

Yes, that's right, Polly Toynbee, who cares passionately for her local community and Labour project such as co-operative councils, decided to take on a role and managed to attend just one meeting before quitting saying she had much more important things to do than helping the proles. OK, that may be paraphrased, but this is the actual response from the Council.

"Polly Toynbee was originally part of the Co-operative Council Citizens' Commission and attended one meeting on the 13 October. However, given her work commitments Polly Toynbee was unable to attend other meetings and as a result stood down from the Commission."
Champagne Socialism! Don't you just love it?

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, February 13, 2011

User reviews.... you have to love'em

Click Image For Larger Version

Via imgur.com

Conusltant surgeons? Why they're as evil as stockbrokers in 2011!

Way back in the mists of time, circa 1995, I was a lowly student and undergraduate studying politics. One of my lecturers (in fact most of them) was an extreme left winger and member of the SWP, and I can't deny that I did enjoy winding the silly old bugger up.

Once such occasion was one of those seminar discussions where the subject of pay and worth came up. The question was put to the room of whether a stock broker was more deserving of their earnings than a highly skilled medical consultant surgeon. After all, one just played with other people's money whilst the other saved lives, yet the former more than likely earned more than latter.

Naturally, the answer (posed in a social science type elective course) was already presumed to be known. The consultant surgeon saves lives, the stockbroker is just an evil capatalist, ergo the consultant should earn more because of his worth to society. That the stockbroker helped generate wealth, which in turn generated growth and the ability to provide jobs wasn't important, he was just scum basically.

I mention this because something odd has happened recently amongst certain quarters of the Left. You see, the stockbroker and/or banker, is not alone in being a bogeyman any more. The consultant surgeon, once a shining example for card-carrying SWP lecturers on the inequity of earnings is now a bastard too. Hell, even GPs are under fire.

The GMB Union for example has a campaign going against changes in the NHS that is targeted not at the changes, but at the GPs on the basis they'll earn more money. Recently we had a story about how consultants in hospitals are earning thousands in overtime, with inevitable questioning about the morality of it and accusations that they're "playing the system"

You see, no longer are doctors and consultants who save people lives on a daily basis wirthy of remuneration for it. That the latter may know how to perform keyhole colorectal surgery and prolong or save the life of someone with colon cancer after years of training and learning is moot.

The bastards earn to much dammit, cut their pay, fuck the patient, what about the worker!

It's a funny old world init?

Who's fault is the "nasty confrontation"?

Party politics really doesn't do it hardest to eschew complete bollocks at the best of times, and this week's/month's and ongoing year's narrative on "cuts" is one such example where the scrotum and their contents are out in particular force.

Take, for example, the decision of the Labour-run Manchester Council to take the axe to some of their most important public services. Naturally, for the Council, this is all the fault of the bastard Coalition Government, who, having cut their headline budget figure ones to blame for the closure of public sex locations.... sorry I mean toilets.

Yes, the people of Manchester are to face misery you see because the Council, in deciding where to cut its budgets and manage its decrease in funds, had no choice but to hit the proles as hard as possible, and believe me, this had nothing whatsoever to do with party politics.

It would take a true cynic to think that the Labour-run Council decided to hold a press conference and invite the great and good of the national media with their TV cameras along with the pre-prepared sound bite about Manchester was about to face "unmitigated misery".

Then of course, we have the Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, who is now saying that its all David Cameron's fault and that he is creating "nasty confrontation" by "blaming councils" for the decisions councils have chosen to make when it comes to how they to spend, or more accurately, not spend, our money.

No doubt, when he finds himself on the ropes over something in the future (it will happens because it happens to all front line politicians) he'll be saying that his own actions are not his fault but in fact the fault of great-grandparents, for having his grandparents ho went on to have parents and then him.

Of course, Balls is right in a sense, there is "nasty confrontation" ahead, but it's pretty obvious that those confrontations are part of the "nasty" game of party politics that Labour are willing to play, they may not like the accusation of course, but when other Councils facing the same budget restrictions are managing it without bending people over and totally screwing them, you have to wonder about the motives of those that do.

What's more, let's be honest for a moment, it makes sense for them to do it. If Labour are to seek to govern once more, then they need the spending restrictions to appear as bad as possible and they also need to generate the PR to go with such pronouncements of misery. What better place to do it than for Labour controlled councils to swing the axe but blame the Government for their own actions? There are enough idiots out there to believe it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rejoice, its a military coup people revolution!

Good morning from the Daily Cynic and what a wonderful morning it is as the shit storm continues to brew.

You see, the "people" of Egypt have spoken indeed and forced their dictator President to step down and they're now celebrating the fact that the high-commands of the armed forces have taken the reins of powers guided by the Defence minister.

Of course, let's be clear right now, this was a quiet and largely non-violent revolution of the "people", all coming from wide-ranging strands of society and thought and not dominated by one single ideology other than a desire for change and freedom.

Any suggestion that within the corridors of powers there was a quiet little coup by the military and its political puppet is 100% wrong... got it?

Yes yes, I know that technically the military have taken over the country, and yes, I appreciate that the politician at the top is essentially the minister responsible for the military, but let's not dwell on that, this was about pure "people" power and nothing more.

It was the "people" that brought down the regime, not some quiet behind closed doors chats where a few generals pointed out that perhaps now was the time to go and let them sort the mess out. No, it was all about that changey hopey thing.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The latest fluff about human rights....

There is, it seems, a new sacred cow in town and it's not the NHS but is instead "human rights". To simply question the orthodoxy of "human rights" puts you just one step away from calling for the state to be all powerful over people and be allowed to connect their genitals to electrodes.

Of course, this sort reactionary hysteria from the "pro" lobby comes about only in response to the equally reactionary response of the "hang'em and flog'em" lobby who scream about "human rights" being a "criminal's charter" etcetera etcetera.

And yet there is a calm and very sane argument in favour of repealing the Human Rights Act and withdrawing from the 20th Century's European Convention of Human Rights that does not mean you're in favour of tyranny which goes like this.

"Human Rights" are predicated on the assumption that the state exists a priori of its citizenry, and that the state confers on to you "rights" that are yours because you have the quality of being "human".

Now compare that assumption to the assumptions of a document like the US Constitution, which says things like,

"Congress shall make no law...."
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated"
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Notice the subtle difference? Here we have not "rights" conferred by a state that assumes it exists separately from its citizens but rather we have "rights" that come about by stating what the state cannot do.

In the latter the people are sovereign, in the former, the state is sovereign and gives the people rights at its pleasure.

This is why the Human Rights Act should be repealed and Britain should withdraw from the European Convention and draw up its own Bill of Rights that is designed in terms of what the state cannot do, not what the people have been given the right to by a a paternalistic state.

"Prisoners votes" and "criminal's charters" are merely extensive fluff covering the elephant in the room.

Note: No more blogging today, I know I said I would be back next week but had a brief moment in the schedule.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

BBIAB....

Funny how quick a year goes by, but it has. Just a quick note to say blogging is largely canceled this week due to external forces at work and also Mrs Dizzy going for her yearly in one case, and six monthly in another, cancer follow-up tests.

Back next week. In the meantime you can go and read other blogs.

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Blue Peter Terrorist Handbook

Dizzy Jr reached the grand old age of six yesterday. When he opened the Blue Peter annual someone gave him and he said "cool, Blue Peter!" I had the epiphany that he was no longer a toddler, but it was the content of said annual that amused most.

Click Image For Larger Version

Now I presume there must be some copies floating about from the first print run before someone pointed out that perhaps telling kids how to make bombs using at least one bomb popular with terrorists might not be a good idea.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

At least they're transparent about wasting money

See that little icon over there which you can see in the real world at the Information Commissioner's website.

It cost £585 you know. Yes. Really.

That's 50p per pixel. Nice work if you can get it huh?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The World's Worst Hacker

Turn the volume down if the music annoys you. This hacker was caught doing his/her thing not knowing it was inside a honeytrap.

Parliamentary Recess time-delay

Nothing like the joy of Christmas and a Parliamentary recess to cause a time-delay huh? Published in Written Answers yesterday, January 31st 2011,

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many local authorities have notified his Department that they do not plan to organise events to mark the festival of Christmas in 2010.

Andrew Stunell: Local authorities are not required to tell my Department how they are celebrating Christmas as this is a local matter. However, the Secretary of State has received approximately 60 letters supporting his stance on the celebration of Christmas.
Only a month and a bit late!

Perhaps Caroline Flint should've spoken to avid Doctor Who fan Tom Harris and asked if he had a spare Tardis she could use.

Are you sitting comfortably?... they are

There has been quite a bit written about the Audit Commission over the last few months since it's demise was announced, some of which has been supportive and some which has been dismissive of its virtues. If you're not sure what the Audit Commission is meant to do, this is what its website says,

The Audit Commission is an independent watchdog, driving economy, efficiency and effectiveness in local public services to deliver better outcomes for everyone..... We appoint auditors to provide assurance and promote value for taxpayers’ money across local government, health, housing, community safety, fire and rescue and other public services.
All very straightforward indeed. Value for money for the taxpayer is important, you won;t get any arguments from me on that one. So is it appropriate that, in the last 12 months, the Audit Commission spent £53,507.64 on just 222 office chairs? (that's an average of £241 per chair before you ask).

The "Omni Swivel chair 4812" at just over £850 a piece better be comfortable for the money, and the two hush chairs on sled legs (pictured right) are surely a snip at £840 per unit. Clearly there is one person in the Audit Commission who must have a bad back or something as they were bought the RH Logic 300 at a reduced price of £525.63.

It does make me wonder sometimes who actually audits the auditors for value for money.

So much for a transparent House of Commons

It's well known that during the build-up to the Expenses Scandal, it was the House of Commons and the Speaker of the time that fought tooth-and-nail to avoid a light to shine on the expenses and allowance spending of our Lords and Masters. Thankfully, as a result of a leak it didn't matter anyway.

Whilst it's unlikely that this was a driving force behind the desire by the Tory element of the Coalition to establish the principle that Government department should be publishing their spending on anything over £500, it was probably a factor, hence many department are now telling us, in raw data format at least, what taxpayers money they're pissing up the proverbial.

Well, all except the House of Commons of course. You wouldn't expect that institution, often of lofty "born to rule" arrogance, to take transparency with your money seriously would you? You see, they don't, as, when asked what single tender contracts they'd agreed since May 2010 the response from the House of Commons Commission was as follows,

The House's central contract database contains information on six single tender contracts awarded since May 2010, namely:
  • Additional access control
  • Supply, delivery and installation of security screening equipment
  • Anti-fragmentation film in 14 Tothill street
  • Modifications to the House of Commons Chamber sound equipment and supply of specialist radio microphones
  • Supply of curtaining fabric
  • Replacement of broken glass roof domes, Moncrieff's Restaurant
None of these contracts was above the EU public procurement threshold for supplies and services which currently stands at approximately £101,000.

Single tender contracts under £25,000 within individual House Departments are not recorded on the central contract database, and it is not known how many of these there have been.
You didn't expect them to tell you how much it cost to protect them from the rabble throwing stones at their windows did you?


 

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