Collaborators, snitches and the Stasi

I expect the forums at Pistonheads.com have been rendered in a state of apoplexy about this:

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Thousands of drivers have been reported by fellow motorists after being spotted speeding, drink driving or talking on mobile phones.

Anyone reported twice in a year could face police action under the scheme, named Operation Crackdown. The culprits could receive a home visit or a warning letter.

Sussex Police is trialling the campaign and has already received 20,488 reports from the public. Warning letters have been sent to 2,695, while a further 1,047 have been sanctioned for offences such as having an out-of-date tax disc.

The scheme, under which reports are submitted anonymously online, could be rolled out nationally if it is deemed a success.

A newsletter promoting the scheme reads: "Are you fed up with anti-social drivers? People who still use their mobile phones while driving, not wearing seat belts or those who insist on getting right up your bumper and are really annoying and dangerous to others."

I’m sorry.. how does not wearing a seatbelt constitute anti-social or dangerous driving?

Surely they’ve seen the studies showing that when wearing seatbelts, people drive in a less risk-averse way? AKA the Peltzman effect.

No, this is not about safety or anti-social driving. It’s about the police asking members of the public to do their job for them, and in doing so, appeal to the worse-nature of the inevitable portion of society that is given to being judgemental, self-righteous, nosey and vindictive.

Dylan Sharpe of Big Brother Watch points out the most obvious flaws with the plan, and is quoted in the article.

Dylan Sharpe, of the campaign group Big Brother Watch, warned that Operation Crackdown is "based on unfounded accusations by untrained and possibly prejudiced members of the public".

He added: "This scheme is wide open to abuse, ranging from people with minor grudges against neighbours to busybody drivers who think they know what constitutes bad driving."

There is a further problem though. I drive getting on for 30,000 miles a year. On a mile for mile basis, that makes me 2-3 times more likely than the average 10k a year driver, to be reported by some embittered numpty. And yet the bar for police action is set at 2 reports over a given period, not per 10,000 miles driven. Of course it’s obvious that they can’t realistically judge it on miles driven, but the result is a creation that is manifestly unfair to those of us who drive a lot, in the course of generating revenue for the tax man to steal from us, to play for police.

But…

The main problem I have with this scheme is something of a personal one. I’m a target for this shit. I drive quickly and assertively. I have no patience for timewasters and idiots on the road.

You know what I find to be anti-social? Driving at 40mph in 50mph zone for no good reason, and causing a queue of traffic to build up.

I don’t want to be doing 40. I want to be doing 50 (probably I want to be doing more than that, but I can live with 50), and you can bet your arse that after a half mile or so, I’ll be doing everything I can to draw this fact to your fucking ignorant attention.

BMWREARVIEW 
This means “Get the fuck out of my way” you tedious wanker.

So what do the police encourage? Well they diagnose my behaviour to be anti-social and ask the 40mph fuckwit to report me.

They will doubtless fail to accept my assertion that Mr 40mph is, in fact, the one driving anti-socially.

Similarly, the art of overtaking is a dying one in this country, and when encountered, it is frequently met with righteous indignation, flashed headlamps or a ‘wanker’ gesture.

For why? I didn’t do anything dangerous. There was a plentiful gap, and I used my car’s considerable power in order to overtake swiftly and safely, in line the police driving manual Roadcraft.

No doubt a goodly proportion of these remonstrators will be moved to go on to the local police website and tell tales about me.

What’s interesting about the phenomenon regarding objections to overtaking is that the usual source of this objection comes from one of two stereotypes. Firstly, is the obvious one. Old people, of whom there are far too many on the roads, and most of them drive like total fucking morons. Secondly, though, is young men.. teenagers to late 20s. The class of the New Labour years. Conformist metrosexual sheep.

Fuck them all.

AJ

NB: This is far from being the first time that a police force has tried to make informers out of their paymasters.

UPDATE: Manwiddicombe makes an interesting case for exceptional circumstances.

This evening at around 6pm I was proceeding in an Easterly direction along the Old Shoreham Road (A270) approaching the junction for West Hove Sainsburys. I was driving *cough* at the 40 mph speed limit when a vehicle raced past me in the outside lane.

It was definitely travelling at speeds in excess of the posted limit. A *cough* passenger in my vehicle managed to take a photo of the rear of the vehicle with a mobile telephone device. Would you like to see the photo?

Whoever it is that works for this nannying outfit deserves everything they fucking get. Speed kills? Cunt.

Keeping us safe

From stuff that’s no fucking threat to anyone. Well done, Captain Buzzkill.

image 

Oooh – really? That’s terrible. Awful. I didn’t even know about it.

Officers were alerted after neighbours reported "unusual behaviour" and "strange sounds" coming from the four-bedroomed house in Lee Mill, Devon.

Police arrived with battering rams to raid the home but after a plain clothes officer knocked on the door the residents let them in – thinking he had an appointment.

The sex dungeon was then found in a converted room filled with "hundreds" of items including whips, gas masks, wooden bats, handcuffs, clothes pegs and shackles.

Police also discovered bondage chairs with straps, straight jackets, sex toys, gimp masks, S&M outfits, shackles, cattle prods and car batteries used to power the toys.

The dungeon was also stuffed with "various electrical vibrating" items and a recording studio complete with computer equipment and mixing desk.

Detective Sergeant Stuart Gilroy of Devon and Cornwall police said officers made the "startling" discovery last Friday (26/02) afternoon.

Oh well done, you.

But during the raid one "customer" arrived at the home – and still asked for his appointment despite the large police presence.

ROFL. And do you know why, Captain Cockwash? Because he wasn’t there for a fuck – he just wanted his arse whipping and his balls burning with a cigarette. Fucked up, perhaps, but not illegal between consenting adults. Not even for money, as far as I know.

"In the dungeon alone we discovered bondage chairs with straps, gimp masks, whips, shackles and various electrical vibrating items. Hundreds of items were seized at the address."

Oh the hilarity back at the nick must have been side-splitting. Twats.

A 38-year-old man from Lee Mill, a 21-year-old woman from Ivybridge, Devon, and a 24-year-old woman from Plymouth have been arrested in connection with the incident..

What fucking ‘incident’, you cunts? Breach of the epidermis?

DS Gilroy said: "We are glad to have disturbed this activity and restored normality to the neighbourhood. We would also like to thank residents who reported the activity to us."

Oh I’m sure you are, you smug puritan prat.

Inspector Phil Chivers, police inspector for the South Hams, added: "This incident demonstrates that we, the police, are reliant on information from the community."

Yes, and it also demonstrates that the community is awash with pecksniff curtain twitching cunts who’ll gladly inform on their fellow man, without even the pieces of silver in return.

I leave you in the capable hands of Doug.

AJ

Splendid

I do hope Guido has this right:

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Guido understands that Andy Burnham is about to be in some deep trouble. Yesterday he said he “did not believe that a lengthy, adversarial inquiry would be in the best interests of health care in Staffordshire.” Today it has emerged that in 2007, as a Junior Health Minister, he signed off on one of four stages of the Mid-Stafford Hospital’s elevation to Labour’s coveted Foundation Trust status. This was despite four formal alerts about the hospital’s dangerous practises. The rest they say is history.

No wonder Dave was asking about this at PMQs yesterday. Guido just got off the phone with Julie Bailey of Cure the NHS, a local group campaigning for a full inquiry into the case, who said she had to go because “we’re just about to start filming” as Andrew Lansley was on the way.

After Burnham’s “tired and emotional” outburst at Lansley last week for the death tax posters, Guido senses he may be dodging Nokias by the end of the tea time news…

… because Andy Burnham is a puritanical authoritarian scouse tosser.

AJ

Quite remarkable

Uncommon sense here from frequently surprising porridge guzzler Tom Harris MP.

Minimum pricing of alcohol won’t work. Do you imagine that the type of person who gets blitzed on a 12-pack of Carlsberg from the local supermarket is going to see the new, increased price label and say to himself: “No, I can no longer afford to indulge my drinking habit. I will therefore save my money and spend it instead on books for my children.”?

If someone wants to get drunk, then you know what? They’re going to get drunk. If they have to go into debt or deprive their families of the bare essentials in order to do it, then that’s what will happen. And given that for those in work, levels of disposable income are higher than ever, you’d have to push prices up a hell of a lot before it would have even a marginal impact on consumption.

People drink alcohol for many reasons, and the price of it may well be a factor. But I doubt if it’s anywhere near the most important one. I hope the government doesn’t end up on the wrong side of this argument, as Paul Waugh hints today.

Of course, they will end up on the wrong side of this argument because they’re in thrall of the puritans, but then so will the AuthoraTories.

AJ

UPDATE: Via OH, I see that the Tories do indeed fancy some of this bullshit.

Mr Lansley confirmed plans to increase taxes on super-strength drinks and said he would if necessary introduce legislation to ban cut-price supermarket deals on alcohol.

He pledged to toughen up the licensing regime to make it easier to close down noisy or irresponsible bars and clubs.

But he rejected calls from the chief medical officer and the Commons health select committee to set a minimum price on all alcohol – claiming it would penalise moderate drinkers.

Mr Lansley’s public health strategy also contained plans to tackle obesity by working with fast-food restaurants and bars to publicise calorie contents of their meals, and to reduce the sizes of portions.

He said he wanted food packaging to show daily guidenewlines amounts of fat, sugar and salt, and called for further restrictions on the marketing of unhealthy foods to children.

Just fuck all the way off you total and utter cunts.

AJ

Denormalisation of alcohol in Scotland

Ramping up again, I see.

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Orly? Let’s see.

Economists at the University of York suggested the total burden to Scotland’s public purse every year of drink-related problems is between £2.5 billion and £4.6 billion.

Now. First of all, if this costs every Scot £900pa – and let’s just suppose it does – what is it costing the English? Remember we subsidise those Jock twats up to the eyeballs.

Moving on,

Economists at the University of York suggested the total burden to Scotland’s public purse every year of drink-related problems is between £2.5 billion and £4.6 billion.

The midpoint of the range of estimates, £3.56 billion, includes a £268.8 million cost to the NHS, £727.1 million to the criminal justice system and £230.5 million to social services.

That’s quite easily fixed with a claw hammer and a chainsaw.

The Scottish economy loses more than £865 million per year thanks to alcohol-related absenteeism, unemployment and early death, the study also suggested.

Early death? You’re counting the cost to the economy of people checking in their chips and not drudging on to 65? Fuck off, and while you’re going, check the cost of the benefits trap, the brain drain and the stagnation and Randian striking that high taxes and over-regulation cause.

Meanwhile, the human cost, including suffering caused by premature drink-related deaths, was estimated at £1.46 billion.

Oh now you’re just plucking crap out of the air. Dare one ask how such as cost was put on such intangibles?

Previous research had suggested the annual cost to taxpayers was £2.2 billion, and SNP ministers argued the new, higher total showed urgent action is required.

Ahh…. a hockey stick for Salmond?

They want to introduce a minimum price for alcohol, mooted at 40p per unit, but look set to be defeated after the three main opposition parties vowed to vote down the measure.

Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish health minister, said: “This report, which takes a more comprehensive view than any previous study, indicates that the total cost of alcohol misuse to Scotland’s economy and society is even worse than we thought.

“The time for stalling is over and the need for action is clear.”

Clear indeed. I don’t think we agree on the required action. Almost certainly, your preference doesn’t include claw hammers or chainsaws – or your scrawny righteous cunting necks.

AJ

Puritanism is exactly what it is, and we have to stop it

Uncommon sense in the Graun yesterday

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It’s about time the MSM got up to speed with the situation as detailed extensively by the likes of Dick Puddlecote and Boaty & D.

Do read Mr Cohen’s column, which is most refreshing.

AJ

Suicide watch…

Eamonn Butler is the head of the Adam Smith Institute – a free-market think-tank.

But I’d not be surprised to hear that the Dignitas marketing folk were keen to retain his services.

I say this because, ever since I started reading this:

image5

I’ve been increasingly curious about their services.

It’s an unceasing catalogue of the things that Gordon Brown and his coterie of bastards has done to our country.

Oh sure, there’s not much in there that you couldn’t find on most libertarian blogs, but the sheer scale of their destruction wrought upon the fabric of our economy, society, liberty, privacy, justice system and democratic protections is breath-taking.

I may, in fact, never finish this book, because I decide that I want to live. On the other hand, I may neck a fistful of vallium and get it over with. The book, I mean.

AJ

Moral Maze: Twitter…

Who’d have guess it would come up as a topic on Moral Maze? But in light of the recent twatterstorms vis. Carter Ruck, Jan Moir and A.A. Gill, the day has come…

image115[1]

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00nkcfk/Moral_Maze_04_11_2009/

Makes interesting listening.

AJ

A common response…

Over at DK’s place, the Filthy Smoker has nicely summed up my response to news that ‘unhealthy men may lose 10 years

"’We’ve shown that men at age 50 who smoke, have high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels can expect to survive to 74 years of age, while those who have none of these risk factors can expect to live until 83."

Fuck me, but is this really what it all comes down to? The endless public health scare stories. The fascist smoking legislation. The rapacious tax rises. The fake charities. The obesity ‘epidemic’. Ian bastard Gilmore. It all comes down to the risk of dying at the age of 74? And I can eat what I want and smoke tabs as well? 

This is the least scary scare story I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen Troll 2.

Doctors, if you’re reading this:  74 years is more than enough time for me to do all the things I plan to do in this life. I’ll leave all that senility, dribbling and pissing myself to someone else, if it’s all the same to you. 

Risk very much accepted, now fuck off and leave me alone. Don’t worry about those taxes I’ve been paying. To be honest, I never expected to see that money again anyway. Use it to buy a catheter for an 83 year old non-smoking vegetarian. I’m off out.

Nothing really to add to that, other than to enquire what I may do to bring that figure down to, say, 70.

AJ

New Puritanism…

Earlier, I wondered aloud from whence came this new age of Puritanism.

I think I have the answer. Scotland. More accurately, Protestants. Dour, work-obsessed, self-flagellating, abstemious, pious, judgemental fuckbaskets.

http://devilskitchen.me.uk/2009/09/doctors-still-lying-about-alcohol.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/rachelsylvester/3555989/Roundhead-Gordon-Browns-New-Puritans.html

Still, at least they don’t fuck your kids, like the Catholics, eh? Wrong…

I mean, for fucks sake, give over your first born to the pederasts with the wine and incense and let the fucking good times roll again.

By the way, have you noticed how Christians of all hues these days are pretty shit at forbearance and forgiveness?

I don’t read the Bible much, but I went to school for a while and I’m fairly sure that Jeebus was pretty hot on those two qualities, right there.

AJ

Total news blackout…

The other day, I was warming to the idea of the coming winter bringing with it political turmoil and schadenfreuderous giggles.

Today, however, while perusing Mr Puddlecote’s splendid blog, I wondered if I really do want to dive back into all that fucking shit.

You And Your Family Will Die Horribly – Soon
Another Day, Another Witless Attack On Alcohol
Be On Your Way, This Is Our Territory
Onward Puritan Soldiers

Now, while DP writes very well and provides thoughtful and informed comment, there’s no getting away from the message of relentless and depressing attacks on our liberty and adulthood that we are sustaining on a daily basis at the hands of these socialist, ideologue, control-freak fuckheads who run the show.

I’ve not seen TV news now for months. I’ve not picked up a newspaper or gone beyond the front page of a news website for months.

And it has been absolutely fucking joyous.

It seems impossible to remain happy while keeping abreast of the latest ways in which the bullying, thieving state intends to encroach upon our autonomy and humanity, while pissing all of our money up the cunting wall.

So I’m going to have to find something else to write about this winter. Certainly, as you’ll have already seen, my bile will be focussed away from flogging the dead horse that’s in power now and towards Davy Spameron, who is, without a shadow of a doubt, going to usher in at least 5 more years of the same fucking shit.

Fuck the lot of them. Fuck Labour. Fuck the Tories. Fuck News International. Fuck the Daily Mail. Fuck the unions. Fuck the health & safety executive. Fuck lawyers. Fuck local councils. Fuck teachers. Fuck Trevor Phillips. Motherfuck the BBC.

And breathe…

AJ

NHS Priorities

Via LegIron at Old Holborn, I see that the NHS is getting so much cash thrown at it now, that it doesn’t even have to spend much of it on, you know, healthcare.

Hospitals will take meat off menus in bid to cut carbon

Meat-free menus are to be promoted in hospitals as part of a strategy to cut global warming emissions across the National Health Service.

The plan to offer patients menus that would have no meat option is part of a strategy to be published tomorrow that will cover proposals ranging from more phone-in GP surgeries to closing outpatient departments and instead asking surgeons to visit people at their local doctor’s surgery.

Some suggestions are likely to be controversial with patients’ groups, especially attempts to curb meat eating and car use. Plans to reuse more equipment could raise concern about infection with superbugs such as MRSA.

Dr David Pencheon, director of the NHS sustainable development unit, said the amount of NHS emissions meant it had to act to make cuts, and the changes would save money, which could be spent on better services for patients.

The NHS has a ‘sustainable development’ unit. I think I need to lie down.

On Tuesday, Pencheon and the NHS chief executive, David Nicholson, will publish the strategy – Saving Carbon, Improving Health – which will set targets to cut the organisation’s carbon footprint, and proposals to meet them. It follows a government pledge last year to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.

The plans cover all aspects of patients’ care, from building design to transport, waste, food, water and energy use.

Among the most talked-about is likely to be the suggestion that hospitals could cut carbon emissions from food and drink by offering fewer meat and dairy products. Last year, the United Nations climate chief, Rajendra Pachauri, provoked a global debate…

No, Grauniad, he provoked paroxysms of howling laughter.

… when he said having a meat-free day every week was the biggest single contribution people could make to curbing climate change in their personal lives, because of the chemicals sprayed on feed crops and the methane emitted by cattle and sheep. Last week, the German federal environment agency went further, advising people to eat meat only on special occasions. Pencheon said the move would cut the relatively high carbon emissions from rearing animals and poultry, and improve health. Last year the NHS served 129m main meals, costing £312m, according to Department of Health figures. "We should not expect to see meat on every menu," said Pencheon. "We’d like higher levels of fresh food, and probably higher levels of fresh fruit and veg, and more investment in a local economy."

If ‘climate change’ were something that we can and do influence, then these ludicrous ideas may have some small merit. As it is, we’re betting the lot on a straw man constructed by socialists defeated by the fall of the Iron Curtain.

Reality truly is a rarely sighted phenomenon.

AJ

Will you become a criminal on 26th January?

http://www.backlash-uk.org.uk/

Censorship law

For the first time in the western world, when extreme image clauses come into effect on 26th January 2009 it will be illegal for anyone in England and Wales to possess such an image.

The Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 8th May 2008 and the extreme image clauses come into effect on 26th January 2009. The government have kindly provided further guidance to the pubic to help them understand this new law.

The Spanner Trust have also prepared a pdf guide to what the law says and how to avoid breaking it.

CAAN have sought to flush out the rules, with a demonstration led by Ben Westwood generating mainstream news attention in Parliament Square on 21 October 2008.

Jack Straw’s attempt at justifying the law on possession and reassure that the parliamentary process has produced a workable law that is well defined and will be very difficult to break can be found here.

Inadequate scrutiny of this Bill by Parliament has been another classic illustration that Britain suffers from an “elected dictatorship” between elections.

The final text of the Act is available in full as a pdf file here or as an html here and the extreme image clauses start here.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/11/28/extreme_images/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/19/extreme_guidance/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/09/policing_internet_one

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/09/extreme_images_police_confused/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/11/26/pr0n_ban_date/

http://www.justice.gov.uk/news/announcement261108a.htm

If nothing else, the worry must be that if the pigs want you and they don’t have anything else on you, they can take your computers and make if it what they will. Even of the charge turns out to be completely trumped up, before your day in court, you’ll have been conditionally bailed or remanded and you will have been pilloried in the press and on the internet. Mud sticks.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/22/bondage_protest/

Insistence that everything’s just fine also come from the Department for Children, Schools and Families. A spokesperson added: “Safeguarding children is top priority for this Government and the child has been put at the heart of our reforms and we are determined to maintain a relentless focus on children’s safety.”

Ah – the last refuge of the scoundrel.

It’s just more power to the corrupt and righteous.

AJ

Smokers of the world unite. And cough.

Dick Puddlecote has a rather excellent blog of ‘leave me alone to live my life, you interfering clowns’ variety and I highly recommend it. Even if he does appear to lack the swear-gene.

Here’s a particularly splendid breakdown of the nonsense lies peddled by ASH in the smoking wars:

Unfortunately, this week is seeing a right kick in the teeth for ASH and their ilk. Lies are being exposed quite ruthlessly. First we had the revelation a couple of days ago that the smoking ban in England had actually reversed a long trend and managed to increase smoker prevelance. Today, ASH have been beaten by an even bigger stick as it was revealed that the Scottish smoking ban, allied with a banning of the sale of packs of 10, and the raising of the age for buying cigarettes has resulted in a 5% increase in young adults smoking in Scotland.

The number of young people smoking in Scotland has returned to a level last seen nearly 10 years ago, according to a report by health officials.

The survey revealed nearly a third of people between 16-24 are smokers.

In 2004 the number of young smokers in Scotland had fallen to just 25% but by 2007 that figure was 31%.

Note the dates. Smoking cessation initiatives have been an abject failure and have massively increased smoker prevalence in the 16-25 age group. So what does Shona Robertson suggest to halt this slide? Yep, you guessed it. More of the same failed policy.

Click through to see all of the following smoking ban ‘myths’ comprehensively destroyed proven true:

Myth: It will be bad for pubs
Myth: It will be bad for bingo
Myth: There will be large scale non-compliance
Myth: There will be heavy handed enforcement with undercover officers and covert filming
Myth: Working men’s clubs and shisha bars will close
Myth: People won’t really quit
Myth: Smoking is a victimless crime/ Claims about the health impact are flawed
Myth: House fires will increase as people will stay at home to smoke
Myth: There will be an increase in exposure of secondhand smoke in the home, affecting children
Myth: The public do not want a smoking ban or any further tobacco control measures

Glory be.

AJ

The Truth Hurts

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/article5326005.ece

Teacher who told pupils ‘Santa doesn’t exist’ is axed

A teacher who told pupils that Father Christmas does not exist has been prevented from returning to the school.

The class of seven-year-olds were learning about Christmas at Blackshaw Lane Primary School in Oldham, when their female supply teacher told them that Santa Claus did not deliver their presents at Christmas.

The teacher – who was only drafted in for a day last week – left pupils confused and upset after she told them it was their parents who put presents in their stockings on Christmas Eve, not St Nic.

The school was pummelled with complaints after the children returned home to tell their parents what they had learnt in class that day.

One father said: “Apparently this teacher just came out with it in class. I couldn’t believe it when my daughter told me. Why would you say such a thing? She was really upset.

“She’d been thinking about it on the way home and she couldn’t understand.”

He added: “It should be down to parents, not teachers, to deal with this sort of thing. And seven or eight is no age to be told that.”

Angela McCormick, headmistress at the school, contacted the agency who supplied the teacher and told them not to send her again.

Another parent said that he had spent hours convincing his daughter that the teacher was wrong. He said: “I’ve told her she must have been confused.

“I wasn’t happy and a lot of the mums were upset. All kids at that age are excited at this time of year, so for someone to come out and say something like that puts a dampener on it all.

In other news, Professor Gerhard Blund of the German Orthodontic society was arrested last night at Heathrow Airport, amid claims that he had published a paper in 2003, which is said to disprove the existence of tooth fairies. Prof. Blund is expected to face the Parish court of Tunbridge Wells, where Tooth Fairy Denial has been a capital offence since the Flouride Holocaust of 1897.

Wankers.

AJ

A History of Anti-Smoking

Back to business. A very interesting read regarding my earlier regurgitation of DK’s Heart Attack Haggis post.

http://www.velvetgloveironfist.com/index.php?page_id=65

Timeline

17.02.06: STOPIT (STudy Of Public place Intervention on Tobacco exposure) announce the decision to conduct a study designed to “test the hypothesis raised by the Montana study that a reduction in ETS [Environmental Tobacco Exposure] exposure is accompanied by a rapid reduction in the incidence of acute coronary syndrome (ACS).” The study is to be led by Dr Jill Pell.

10.9.07: Dr Pell and her team announce their findings at a conference in Edinburgh. The Scottish government marks the occasion by issuing a press release titled ‘Smoking ban brings positive results’ saying: “A study of nine Scottish hospitals has found a 17 per cent fall in admissions for heart attacks in the first year after the smoking ban came into force.”

11.9.07: International media, including The Times, The Guardian and The Daily Mail report the news that, as the latter put it:
“Further dramatic evidence emerged last night to show that banning smoking in public reduces the rate of heart attacks. Hospital admissions for heart attacks dropped by 17 per cent in the year after the legislation was introduced in Scotland. If the pattern is repeated throughout the UK, there would be almost 40,000 fewer heart attacks a year.”

14.11.07: The BBC publish an article (online) titled ‘When the facts get in the way of a good story’. The author noted that data from ISD Scotland showed that the real drop in heart attacks was just 8%. He added: “What appeared to be hard medical evidence now looks more like over-hasty and over-confident research, coupled with wishful political thinking and uncritical journalism.”
22.12.07: The Times includes the study in its list of ‘The worst junk stats of 2007′.

30.7.08: On the eve of the study’s publication, the international media report the findings again. USA Today writes: “Scotland’s smoking ban appears to have prevented hundreds of heart attacks in its first year, a study shows. The number of people admitted to the hospital for heart attacks fell by 17% in the year after Scotland’s smoking ban took effect in March 2006.”
Tom Glynn of the American Cancer Society calls the study “virtually flawless’.

31.7.08: The study is finally published in the respected New England Journal of Medicine titled ‘Smoke-free Legislation and Hospitalizations for Acute Coronary Syndrome’.
19.09.08: Velvet Glove author obtains additional hospital data under the Freedom of Information Act. Provisional data suggests that acute coronary syndrome admissions fell by 9.3% in the 12 months following the ban.

25.11.08: Scottish government quietly releases final figures for hospital admissions since the smoke-free legislation. Acute coronary syndrome admissions fell by just 7.2% in year one – in line with the long-term downward trend – before rising by 7.8% in year two.

These people have done a lot of work on this and it deserves a wide audience. That said, I’m putting it here so that I can still remember it in a year.

There are currently (2008/12/01-21:10) 132 comments on DK’s post on this topic – I urge you to regard them.

AJ

Smoking Ban Increases Heart Disease in Scotland

Obviously nothing to do with the battered lard pies they eat morning, noon and night. But ‘they’ cited the decrease in the year after the ban came in as a victory. Wonder what they’ll say now that their ‘good work’ has all been undone.

http://devilskitchen.me.uk/2008/11/what-you-didnt-read-this-week.html

Virtually every newspaper in Britain reported that Scotland had seen a large fall in heart attacks since March 2006 (when the ban started) and so – post hoc ergo propter hoc – it was the ban wot done it. The Guardian’s report – Smoking ban brings big cut in heart attacks in Scotland, study finds – was typical of the media’s willingness to believe in this delightful little fairy-tale.

Inevitably, one the hatchet-faced gurners from Action on Smoking and Health piped up to make the implied connection with passive smoking explicit.

When the study was finally published in July this year it got another flurry of international press attention. By this time, the belief that heart attacks had fallen by 17% had become established fact and was being cited in a bid for world domination.

But the smell of bullshit lingered over the story and this week the truth finally emerged.

You see, we don’t need to pay partisan researchers to estimate how many people get admitted to hospital for heart attacks because the hospitals count and diagnose all the patients themselves. These figures are then compiled and published by professional statisticians. It takes them a while to do it, but that’s because they want to get it right. They don’t just want to pull numbers out of their arses to provide lazy journalists with fanciful stories.

And when these professional statisticians have collated the information properly, they publish it online for all to see, showing the recent trend and the long-term trend.

They finally got round to doing this on Wednesday and everything that was reported last year was exposed as a shabby load of old bollocks. Yes, admissions for acute coronary syndrome had fallen after the ban but they had been falling for years as this graph shows:

The figure was nowhere near 17%. It was 7.2%. And, above all, the rate went up for the first time in a decade the following year – by 7.8%. In other words, there were more heart attacks in smoke-free Scotland last year than there were before the ban.

Quality.

AJ

Philippines, Latvia, Hungary, Argentina afford more privacy than UK

This came out a few months ago, before I started this raddled piece of crap blog, but it’s worth raising again, since I was asked about it.

Privacy International have been researching privacy around the world and publishing an annual index since 1997. Here is the 2007 report, from which the following chart is clipped -click the chart to zoom-in:

PrivacyChart 

Here’s the Wikipedia entry for Privacy International.

AJ

Shut your jug-eared face, your Highness.

There used to be an argument that the royal family, as comical as they are, are an asset to our country.

Once Charlie is King though, we’ll be nought but a laughing stock.

Why does The Times even give this in-bred goon column inches?

AJ

A cake? Of cheese?

Was more or less my reaction when the bovine cleavage that has Jacqui Smith attached to it was appointed Home Secretary. Bizarrely, the conversation I was having was with my mother.

I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I found unsettling about this appointment. My first instinct was comically naive: “How can a woman be tough enough to be Home Secretary?”. My second instinct was much more on the money though. An awful lot of women have a capability that is theirs alone to be cold, draconian, illogical, vindictive, calculating, evasive and utterly blind to their fallibility.

Harriet Harman – the vile feminist barrister and authoritarian harridan – was a trail blazer in this area. Cherie Blair – the vile feminist barrister and authoritarian harridan – was right behind our Prime Minister for 10 long years. Look out, by the way, for more of that with Michelle Obama and Hilary Clinton taking their seats at the top table in America.

As an aside, Chris Rock on Michelle Obama was priceless:

“Barack has a handicap the other candidates don’t have: Barack Obama has a black wife. And I don’t think a black woman can be first lady of the United States. Yeah, I said it! A black woman can be president, no problem. First lady? Can’t do it. You know why? Because a black woman cannot play the background of a relationship. Just imagine telling your black wife that you’re president? ‘Honey, I did it! I won! I’m the president.’ ‘No, we the president! And I want my girlfriends in the Cabinet! I want Kiki to be secretary of state! She can fight!”

Anyway, my concern was not whether Jacqui Smith would be tough enough, but whether she would be fair enough. Modern female thinking doesn’t seem to lend itself to libertarianism. I strongly suspect Ayn Rand was a post-op transsexual.

Indeed – her authoritarian streak is a mile wide.

As the UK Home Secretary, she has been noted for advocating strongly authoritarian policies. Examples are a law to detain crime suspects for several months without charging them for any crime, a central database that logs all mobile phone and email/internet traffic in the UK, and restrictions to the freedom of photography. She justified these policies as necessary “anti-terror” laws.

That fails to mention her recent and darkly comical pushing of ID cards.

And her current hobby-horse is prostitution. She says 80% of prostitutes are trafficked or coerced – effectively slaves. Having sex with one of these women should bring a charge of rape. The onus must be on the man who procures a prostitute to ensure that she is not working for anyone else under duress.

It seems difficult to fault the logic until you hear Niki Adams, spokesman for the English Collective of Prostitutes, who says (as she did when talking to Andrew Neil) that Smith’s figures are utter nonsense.

For the second time in a row, Minnette Marrin has this nailed down.

Of course it is wrong to force women into sex against their will in any circumstances. To do so is to break laws that already exist against rape, sexual assault and trafficking. It is also true that there must be some situations that are obviously dubious and that any law-abiding man ought to get out of as fast as possible. If, for example, the girls are very young and speak hardly a word of English, it is a fair bet that something is wrong.

Normally, though, how is a man to tell? I’ve come across a lot of prostitutes, some in the red-light districts of Hong Kong, Bangkok and Luang Prabang in Laos, some in the smarter parts of London’s Mayfair. I once spent the weekend on a boat on the South China Sea with a Playboy Miss April, who distinguished unselfconsciously between “jobs” and “f***-jobs”. I even know of a few women who, between alimony cheques, have occasionally turned a few tricks for men of their social acquaintance, whom they would not normally dream of charging for the privilege. And I know of one woman who charges her lawfully wedded husband for sex. Feminists used to say that marriage itself is prostitution and, to judge from the tabloid newspapers, in some cases it is.

From all this one thing stands out. Prostitutes vary enormously (as do punters) and so do their situations. Some are forced, more or less; others are not. Some are wretched; some seem content. And if there is no way that a man could find out reliably whether a woman is under duress, then to prosecute him for his ignorance is in effect to trump up charges against him. It is unmistakably unfair.

When confronted on Radio 4’s Today programme by this knockdown argument, Smith repeatedly ignored it; she said instead – and irrelevantly – “I’ll tell you what I think is more unfair and that’s that there are women in this country who are effectively held in slavery.” That is a perfect example of what used to be called female argument – irrelevant, emotional and beside the point.

Once again this government is trying to override common sense, human nature and personal freedom in the interests of a policy not fit for purpose. Judging by Smith and Harman, if there’s one thing worse than the man in Whitehall who knows best, it’s the woman in Whitehall who knows best.

The live and let live society that once prevailed here has very much changed since women got control of things. Some would say it has disappeared completely.

Finally, consider the psychopathic tendencies I posted about previously. I do believe Smith and Harman display them. Clinton most definitely does – look at her manufactured waterworks during the primaries.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy_Checklist-Revised

Factor1: “Aggressive narcissism”

  • Glibness/superficial charm
  • Grandiose sense of self-worth
  • Pathological lying
  • Cunning/manipulative
  • Lack of remorse or guilt
  • Shallow affect
  • Callous/lack of empathy
  • Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
  • Promiscuous sexual behavior

Enough for now.

AJ

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