Quick, look over there!

While the mongs are focussed on the results of our bid for the 2018 World Cup, a couple of excellent examples of how liberal and unstatist our new coalition overlords aren’t.

First, there will be regulation of what clothes shops are allowed to sell for children.


ORLY? Presumably, these children are feral orphans, who are turned loose into the world at 7 years old. They don’t have parents to raise them, guide them or retain responsibility for them. Enter Nanny. Presumably the same Nanny that Andrew Lansley says he’s making redundant from the Department of Health.

And as if that’s not bad enough,

The document also promised to create a new group of experts to tackle “low levels of body confidence” among children and teenagers. Ministers are concerned that many young boys and girls feel they have to live up to impossibly thin airbrushed images of celebrities in magazines and advertisements.

Oh. Okay. Because the 60s, 70s & 80s didn’t have skinny models.. anorexia wasn’t invented until 1997 after all..

And anyway, maybe ‘the kids’ feel that the images they have to live up to are impossibly thin because they graze on Greggs pasties and Krusty Cremes, and play Xbox all day.

In any case, what is is that the government thinks qualifies it to have opinions on any of these things, less still to start imposing whatever ludicrous, misguided and spendthrift schemes they have in mind?

Speaking of which…


I.. errr.. oh will you all just fuck right off.



Wilful ignorance

The recent call for drugs to be decriminalised, in order to reduce health risks and crime has, predictably enough, been batted away by the government, using the same old tired bag of conflation, misdirection and causal fallacy.


The Home Office has restated its position on drugs, after the outgoing president of the Royal College of Physicians called for a review of the law.

Speaking to the BBC, Sir Ian Gilmore said that the ‘the present policy of prohibition is not a success’.

Drugs cause misery

Wait. Let me stop you there. Drugs bring me, and other I know, A GREAT DEAL OF JOY.

And perhaps that’s the real problem here.

Responding to Sir Ian’s comments, a Home Office spokesperson said: ‘Drugs such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis are extremely harmful and can cause misery to communities across the country.

Okay. Stop right there. How is cannabis even in the same sentence as cocaine and heroin?

What harm did cannabis ever do a user? Sure we can exercise arguments about incidence of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, which we can bat away by pointing out the post hoc ergo proper hoc fallacy, and that correlation does not imply causation.

And we can argue about the supposed prevalence of gangs, who grow weed and use weapons and violence to protect their production line. We bat this away by pointing out that if those who wished to consume cannabis could grow their own, for personal use, these violent gangs would suffer a collapsing market. Completely decriminalise pot and they’ve no market at all, unless they go legit and supply to licensed outlets.

On heroin, well, so long as it is pharmaceutically pure and of a known strength, i.e. if it were decriminalised and suppliers were legit, it doesn’t have to be a treadmill to OD and death. It’ll keep Senokot in business though.

Coke? Well, again, the argument revolves around a reliable, unadulterated supply and cutting the hoodlums out of the loop.

Even accepting that heroin and cocaine, can even if pure and controlled, be very dangerous indeed if abused, there remains no justification for cannabis being mentioned in the same breath. There are no recorded fatalities.

But then, it’s a common trick. On the ‘Your Freedom’ repeal bill consultation, Nick Clegg batted away the idea of bringing back hanging and revising the smoking ban in the same breath.

Next, ‘communities’. As it happens John Demetriou has written a good post on this pernicious concept, which spares me the trouble.

Back to the ignorant fascists:

‘The government does not believe that decriminalisation is the right approach. Our priorities are clear; we want to reduce drug use, crack down on drug related crime and disorder and help addicts come off drugs for good.’

And in other news, the government proposes that as of 1 January 2012, the Sun will rise in the west and set in the north. In the event that they are unable to achieve the effect by the conventional socialist approach of realigning the heavens, they will use the social democrat contingency of passing a law to rearrange the points of the compass.

I despair. Same old ignorant, bigoted, narrow-minded authoritarian bullshit.

As it goes, A Very British Dude has done a much better and more thorough job than I on the matter of decriminalisation. See here, here and here.


Doctors: Diagnose ailments, prescribe remedies. And shut the fuck up.

The medinazis are one lobby that was always going to transcend a change of government, so this shouldn’t be surprising:


You see, chaps, you don’t seem to understand a fundamental point:


Some people get the balance ‘right’, others don’t. Although quite why we should take any of these health muppets seriously I don’t know, given their track-record of manifest ideological (or pharmaceutical) bullshit regarding smoking, drinking, eating and recreational drugs.

The driving force for the fact that they feel entitled and compelled to hector us all can be collapsed in one easy move: Their argument always boils down to the cost incurred by the NHS in treating smokers, drinkers, fatties etc.

So we privatise the whole thing and halve national insurance contributions. People can self-insure their health or take out a policy.

At a stroke, the power of doctors’ arguments of ‘public good’, ‘public health’ and ‘cost to the NHS’ all go straight out of the window.

Which is probably why you’ll not find too many doctors supporting my plan. Quite a change from when the NHS was created and 9/10 doctors opposed it.

Remind me though. Is the government’s Chief Medical Officer still an enormously fat bastard?


Apparently not. Lardy Liam’s been replaced by a Quangocrat shrew. Good times.


Drink Driving & The Blood Alcohol Limit

About every 3 months (e.g. see here) for the last 10 years, a story has appeared in the papers that goes pretty much like this:


Under the plans, the limit would fall from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg. Anyone caught above the new limit would face an automatic 12-month driving ban, even if they were only marginally over the threshold.

I should point out, this is the first time we’ve heard this story since Philip Hammond lauded the end of the war against motorists.


So, with that in mind, let’s have a look at the basis of this urgent and draconian requirement. The drink driving an accident stats that must have been rising at some rate in order to precipitate this move.

• In 2008, it was estimated that 13,020 reported casualties (6 per cent of all road
) occurred when someone was driving whilst over the legal alcohol limit.

• The provisional number of people estimated to have been killed in drink drive accidents
was 430 in 2008 (17 per cent of all road fatalities), an increase of 20 fatalities compared
to 2007.

• The provisional number of KSI (killed or seriously injured) casualties in 2008 was 2,060,
less than a quarter of the 1980 level and 5 per cent below the 2007 level.

• Provisional figures for the number of slight casualties in 2008 fell 7 per cent since 2007,
from 11,850 to 10,970.

Not exactly dramatic, is it? Let’s look at the pretty picture:


Errr.. okay. So why target alcohol in this way?

Let’s have a look at some of the other causes of road accidents that might perhaps warrant some attention.

Here’s the table – click to enlarge, and I’ll pull a few key stats out below.


Of ALL accidents in the reported 12 month period (right hand column):

  • 5% were caused by impairment by alcohol.
  • 1% were caused by drugs (illicit or medicinal)
  • 2% were caused by a distraction inside the vehicle (kids, phones etc?)

So far so good. Now to the point.

  • 14% were caused by performing a poor turn or manoeuvre.
  • 37% were caused by a failure to look properly.
  • 19% were caused by a failure to judge other person’s path or speed.

Well there we are then. Right there are a load of causes we could do something about, under the heading Poor or incompetent driving.

I despair at the continuous fiddling at the edge which impacts on us all, when some straightforward measures could have a massive impact.

Next, let’s have a look at the trends in these causation statistics. Again, click to enlarge.


Caused by failing to look properly – percentage.

  • 2005 – 32%
  • 2006 – 35%
  • 2007 – 35%
  • 2008 – 37%

See that? The increase in accidents caused by failure to look properly? Over 4 years that delta is equal to the absolute proportion caused by alcohol.

Caused by failing to judge other person’s speed or path – percentage.

  • 2005 – 18%
  • 2006 – 18%
  • 2007 – 18%
  • 2008 – 19%

Oh – hey – a 1% rise. And 1% is the total proportion of accidents caused by legal and illegal drugs.

Now if only they could break down those failing to look and failing to judge figures by gender. That would be interesting.

In the meantime, ConDems. Shelve this shit and keep your promise to get off our backs, eh?


UPDATE: The Telegraph article points to a suggestion that [weasel word alert] the number of fatalities could be cut be up to 168 a year.

In other words, this report reckons that nearly 40% of drink-driving deaths in 2008 were caused by drivers in the margin between the current 80mg and proposed 50mg limit.

I’ll be interested to know how that estimate was arrived at.

UPDATE 2: Actually, it’s worse than I stated above. The report referred to in the Telegraph, gives the 168 figure for England and Wales only. The Figure of 430 deaths (killed due to alcohol impared driver/rider) refers to Great Britain, so you need to take the Scottish figures (~30 per this) away from the 430.

This pushes the estimated percentage of fatalities caused by drivers in the margin between the current 80mg and proposed 50mg limit much closer to 50%.

To see how badly this figure doesn’t stack up, we’ll now refer to table 3d (p.38) in the “Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2008”. Click to enlarge.


Of motorcycle riders, in 2007:

13% of those killed had more than 50mg of alcohol/100ml of blood.

11% of those killed had more than 80mg of alcohol/100ml of blood.

In other words, 2% of those motorcyclists killed had blood alcohol levels between the existing and the proposed levels.

Of drivers, in 2007:

24% of those killed had more than 50mg of alcohol/100ml of blood.

22% of those killed had more than 80mg of alcohol/100ml of blood.

In other words, 2% of those drivers killed had blood alcohol levels between the existing and the proposed levels.

This seems to give the big fat whopping lie to the estimated reduction of 40% or more, sold by report author Sir Peter North, the former Principal of Jesus College, as the pay off for this reduction in the limit from 80mg to 50mg.

Disclaimer: I’m not a statistician, so my figures are inevitably somehow flawed, but I don’t think they’re a million miles off.

Nanny in the workplace

After some soul-destroying M25 hell today, I arrived a customer site for a meeting. Before I’d even got to the meeting room, I had been bombarded by impertinent questions, dubious imperatives and dodgy advice.

I arrived and parked up. I went for a piss, went for coffee then went upstairs to the meeting. It more or less went in this order:

  • Reversing into parking spaces is mandatory.
  • What colour is your piss? Are you drinking enough?
  • Have you had a prostate exam recently?
  • Here’s how to wash your hands.
  • Have you washed your hands?
  • Drink Smart – drink water, not fizzy drinks.
  • Drugs are illegal, but talking about them isn’t. Ask Frank.
  • It’s National Vegetarian Week. How will you be celebrating? Take a leaflet to find out.
  • Start a good habit today. Use the stairs. Be Fit For Work.
  • Hold the handrail.
  • Here’s how to blow your nose. Put the tissue in a green bin.

I wanted to throw everyone in the room out of a window.

Obviously too many women working at that company.



A complete and utter departure from the day’s depressing decision deficit.

I can’t remember ever being assigned homework until I went to secondary school. I’d like to see you argue the the outcomes of my education were inferior to those leaving primary or secondary school today.

So, I’ve listened with horror as friends with kids have described the onerous burden of homework placed upon 5, 6 and 7 year olds at some schools. Inevitably, these activities require parental support and consume vast quantities of time, as well as creating mess, tension and tears.

I’d just roll my eyes, blame Labour and think ‘another reason to be glad I don’t have kids’. Under Labour, children have become the state’s conduit to unprecedented intrusion in home and family life.

So it’s nice to read some common sense on this:


All essays and worksheets should be completed at school amid claims they put too much pressure on families’ limited time.

Eleanor Updale, author of the award-winning Montmorency series of books, said a typical 30-minute classroom task often took three times as long after being “subcontracted” to parents.

Amazingly, one of the teachers’ unions concurs:

Last year, the Association for Teachers and Lecturers called for all homework for primary school children to be axed amid claims young pupils find the burden too “upsetting”.

Although, the ATL may have their own agenda:

Dr Updale, whose Montmorency series of historical novels is currently being adapted for TV and won a Blue Peter award, said that schools themselves were often "victims of homework”.

“It needs setting, marking, policing and feedback, which eat time from the school day,” she said. “Cutting homework would reduce the burden teachers have to take home with them, diminishing the negative effect of their jobs on their own families.”

All in all, the more we (society, the state) move away from ideology and towards pragmatism, the better things will be.

Would that the current turmoil precipitate such an epiphany.

Hope is not dead after all.


Now you really are taking the pizz

This is from USAnia, but whoever wins power tomorrow, there’s a certain weary inevitability about this turning up here in the UK.


WASHINGTON – There’s a new pizza war but it’s not between your favorite national chain and the local "jumbo slice." Instead, the battle is about the health care ward and the billions of dollars spent to battle obesity. Some politicians are behind a plan to add a hefty tax on pizza.


H/T @IanPJ

On the stultifying and deadly effect of process

Patently has a sorry tale of how those labouring under the yoke of process documents unwittingly surrender their autonomy, humanity and common sense.

The sad news broke today of a young lad who died after an asthma attack. Now, I speak from experience when I say that these are treatable and that prompt action means that the patient can be helped to recover. So why did he die? Because his school left him in a corridor and shoo-ed away the children who were trying to help – despite the fact that he was virtually unable to breathe. By the time his mother arrived, he was visibly grey. By the time he reached hospital, it was too late.

Now, you’d expect the school to be shocked into action, I imagine? Err, no. The problem was, apparently, that the school "had no written medical procedures for staff"

Evelyn Leslie, headteacher at Offerton High School , said there had been no medical policy in place at the time of 11-year-old Sam Linton’s death in December 2007.

This is pathetic. I blogged long ago that rules and procedures are not enough. This is yet another example; if someone can’t work out that a child who is going grey and unable to breathe needs an ambulance NOW then the existence of a policy statement in folder 5, tab 7 stating that an the teacher should notify the designated emergency medical coordinator (see folder 3, tab 2, section 5.6.2 for the current holder of this post) who should immediately call an ambulance is not going to be much help.

Officialdom never seems to realise that it’s not policies you need in these situations, it’s common sense and a feeling of responsibility. Policies for every situation actually achieve the exact opposite of this.

Nothing more to add really. Procedures are there for one reason and one reason only. To cover arses when the coppers, lawyers and offwank inspectors come round.

It’s no coincidence that the high-flyers in my organisation are the ones who play fast and loose with process, deferring only to common-sense and expedience.


Merde du jour

I had a whole bunch of stories I wanted to blog about, but then I had to go and do some fucking work, which impressed me not a jot.

So, here’s what I had lined up for today:


Which is rather contrary to the weaselly claims he made at PMQs on Wednesday.

Next, who gives a fuck about this?


I have absolutely no idea why this shit is still illegal in this country. Fucking puritans.

As for vice cops – Captain Buzzkill one and all – lowest of all cops. And that’s low. Once again, I refer you to the honourable Doug Stanhope.

Talking of cops…


There are plenty of non-public sector blogs for children and hokey old women who like to anthropomorphise animals. That is all.

I’d rather you just concentrated on not melting the dogs to death in your cars, chaps.

In old news recycled:


Ofgem reported on this yesterday?

Perhaps they’d have saved themselves 12 months by just reading some blogs and newspapers. After all, some of us have been concerned about this for a while now. Or maybe it just took them 6 months to remove the swearing from my blog posts.

Indeed – the front page of The Economist looked like this last August:



More concerning, though, is this:


Read that carefully, click through and digest. By many measures, we’re not in much better shape than Greece. We could end up in the same boat as them if our sovereign debt is downgraded this year.

So, perhaps the fact that we’re not in the Eurozone is the only thing standing between the us and ‘special measures’ imposed by Brussels, including a budget imposed by the ECB.

Next – the shock. The Sherlock. The meh.


No fucking surprise when you look at what our society has become – divided, spiteful, shallow, avaricious, covetous, resentful, expensive, dirty, violent – and what our state has become – overweaning, overtaxing, under-delivering, deceitful, fraudulent, war-mongering, fear-mongering, risk-averse, bullying, nagging and judgemental.

Errr.. that’s it for now. If there’s anyone I didn’t mention, they’re all nobheads too.


Go on Labour – destroy that core vote

It seems likely that more hardcore smokers are Labour supporters, rather than DibLems or Tories.

So what the flying fuck are they up to now?


We’ve rehearsed all the reasons why the smoking ban is an absolute disgrace. So what are they thinking?

Andy Burnham, the health secretary, will review the current law to see if it should be strengthened to include areas where smokers have gathered since the 2007 ban.

Mr Burnham said he wants to halve the number of smokers in England from one fifth (21%) of the population to one in 10 by 2020.

The target requires around four million of England’s estimated eight million smokers to quit.

An extension of the ban – which currently covers enclosed spaces – to include open-air but busy areas such as office doorways and pub gardens, would also reduce passive smoking, Department of Health (DH) officials believe.




A puritanical Scouse cunt yesterday.

You know, under my new constitutional settlement, this prick wouldn’t even be entitled to sit in Westminster.


UPDATE: And in case you were wondering, no, the Tories won’t be ay different.

UPDATE 2: Constantly Furious has more. Including the apparent (but not quite) censoring of pro-smoking websites by Vodafone.

UPDATE 3: Smokers’ comfort Dick Puddlecote continues to provide sterling service.

Die, story, die.

Why won’t this bullshit just die?



I dealt with this shit last year, on 29th March, 28th August and 15th September.

Let’s consider from an economic and commercial point of view. Specifically, as the last G20 country to come out of what was the longest recession ever. With Q4 growth of a pathetic 0.1%, built on QE, the VAT cut, the stamp duty holiday, the scrappage scheme and Christmas shite.

The whole package would cost an extra £5.26 billion a year on top of the £2.07 billion at the moment.

And that’s pretty much just for the…

Fathers [who] would be eligible during that three-month paternity leave to statutory government pay of £123 a week.

So what about the cost to business?

Last night, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) pointed out that the new measure would be one of eight extra costs to businesses already planned for next year. In total, business leaders estimate that red tape and planned increases in national insurance will cost £25.6 billion over the next four years.

“I know, Gordon”, said Puppet-Gordon, “we love tax revenues, so let’s fucking kill the goose that lays the golden egg.”

Fuck off Labour. Fuck off welfare state. Fuck off paternity leave.

If you support any of these, you are a rancid, yeasty helmet.


Just one last thing on DINGs marriage scam

Dave and George say that tax breaks for marriage will not be paid for by taxing motorists.

Let’s try some logic, shall we.

  • Premise: Tax income is not at all hypothecated (ring-fenced) in the UK system.
  • Fact: Tories will levy further taxes on motorists.
  • Fact: Tories will levy fewer taxes on married couples.

Ergo – and there’s no avoiding this conclusion – to a greater or lesser extent, motorists will fund tax cuts for married couples.



Oh, and Guido has them banged to rights.

On the Today programme this morning Osborne described claims that the Tories would increase road tax to pay for tax breaks for married couples as “bizarre”, saying “it bears no reality to our thinking in this area”.

Hold on, what is this from page 4 of the Tory “Plan for a Strong Economy”?

image image

Perks of the job

Hey – I may only have get a shitty pay rise this year, but at least my company are offering some great new benefits, like.. err.. a cycle to work scheme.


And this is just perfect for me. Really it is. It would have made the 300 mile round trip I did last Thursday a doddle. And those 28 miles to my nearest office would just fly by. Especially on a brand new £300 bike, which would doubtless put mine to shame, costing as it did north of a grand.

So basically, I’m subsidising people who don’t already have a bike, to get a cheap nasty Chinese bike, that can be stolen from the railway station by chavs, to be used in the commissioning of further bag snatchings and muggings.

Sounds perfectly sensible.

Get the fuck out of my pockets you cunts.


Intervention, intervention, intervention

Via Obo

iDave dishes out some major facepalmology:

Sure Start children’s centres would move away from providing universal services for all parents with young children and focus on the most disadvantaged and ‘dysfunctional’ families, under Conservative party plans for ‘a new generation’ of Sure Start centres.

Conservative leader David Cameron said that the new model of Sure Start would focus on early intervention, with staff paid partly by results.

No need to dwell on who’s ‘disadvantaged’ and what represents ‘results’, Obo has the bottom line, to which much of the right now subscribes.

And doesn’t your soul just wither at the idea of another area in which the government is going to focus on "early intervention"? It’s either going to be too early or not early enough, because individual cases have individual requirements and individual requirements require a lot of resources – much more that the government will actually provide. So it will be a once-size-fits-all "solution" that gets delivered.

More government is iDave’s solution – whatever the problem. I can’t wait to be shot of the Gorgon, but really, iDave will be no different to the last 12 year of Labour’s nannying, hectoring, bullying, clusterfuck incompetence. He hasn’t even won yet and I already fucking hate him.

We’re back to Peter Hitchens.


She ‘gets it’ – but what makes us think the Tories will fix it?

I have a suspicion I’ve profoundly disagreed with this woman in the past, but this column is spot on regarding the stultifying effect of the pervasive state.

There was something both sad and ironic about the prime minister’s attempt to sell Labour as the party of optimism in his new year message last week. Not just because he is the embodiment of dourness, and not just because there isn’t a lot to be optimistic about. But because it’s Labour’s fundamental lack of optimism about human beings and what they are capable of which has so undermined its political project over the past dozen years.

Labour’s controlling, centralising, mistrustful approach has left huge numbers of former supporters feeling sullen, impotent and resentful. And it’s that history which is going to make it so hard for the party to win back voters in the election campaign.

I meet the disillusioned everywhere. A devoted consultant has resigned from the health service because his personal policy of seeing every patient in need within 24 hours broke all his targets for clinic numbers and readmission rates, and his hospital managers ordered him not to continue. An experienced teacher in the north of England gave up her job two years ago because she was seeing bewildered children fall behind every week, and yet the straitjacket of the national curriculum left her no time to help them. A middle-aged woman in rural Devon won’t vote Labour again because the charming old-age home where her mother lives is closing down, forced to shut because its Grade-II listing means it can’t meet new regulations on space and access.

This is a disenchantment that goes beyond Brown’s feeble leadership and people’s anxieties about the economy. It comes from the experience of living with Labour’s ideas about how society should be organised, and finding them mean and thin.

So what are the Tories going to do about all this?

Well they’re making some interesting sounding noises, but as Ms.Russell points out,

The party famous for ruthless centralisation and the hollowing out of local communities in the 1980s and 1990s is making an audacious claim: that it will transform Britain by reducing state power and transferring much of it to the people.

Audacious indeed. Also likely to turn out to be absolute bollocks, frankly.

Do read the rest of the article.


Elsewhere in the blogojobbery

Good to see The Salted Slug getting off to a flying start this year, with two very well considered posts.

Saving us from ourselves

While in Oz, I was talking to a friend of a friend; a very nice lady nurse who worked in community health.  After a bit of idle career talk, she informed me of her wishes to move away from ‘reactive’ work and into more proactive, preventative stuff. I asked what she meant and she replied that she “wanted to get into legislation” and enthused about the success of things like legal seatbelt requirement in cars and the Aussie ban on smoking in cars with children.

I didn’t make much of it at the time, because: a) I was on holiday and desire an easy life, and b) It’s their country.  But, what anyone means when they wish to ‘get into’ legislation -or the influence thereof- is that they have a list of things they don’t like that they wish to see banned or modified-with-menaces.  The classic Righteous Bansturbator we’ve all come to know and love.

Read on

And to follow:

And another thing…

Further to my last post where I mention the bansturbators’ overall well-intentioned goal of doing Good Things by way of legislation; I have a quick point for the consideration of any common-good crusaders who may be passing through.

You do realise, Mr/Mrs Righteous, that no matter what your good intentions are, and no matter how nuanced and specific the perceived flaw you wish to fix is, the legislative or policy-based result of your attempted social engineering will always have a crude and ham-fisted result, don’t you?

Read on

Over at DK’s place The Filthy Smoker gives lie to another raft of bullshit reporting of made up statistics by the BBC in the furtherance of righteous causes:

And a happy new year to you too, you scare-mongering, lemon-sucking, compulsive lying, pointy-headed, neo-prohibitionist fucking cranks.

This non-story was published on the BBC website at five minutes past midnight on New Year’s Day. It would be nice to think that some wag at the Beeb thought it would be richly ironic to put an anti-alcohol piece online at the one time when everybody is pissed, but a more plausible explanation is that the BBC wanted to start the decade as it means to go on – ie. with doom-mongering drivel from state-funded temperance dicks.

And which dick is mongering the doom on this occasion? Why, it’s our old friend Ian Gilmore.

Read on to reveal the old patterns from the last 10 years being replayed.

A quick round-up of some of the predictions being made for 2010.




I’ll probably update this post anon as I happen upon other nuggets of interest.