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.

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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…

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

AJ

Dear Tories, Go Fuck Yourselves.

If I had voted Tory at the last general election, as I most certainly did not, now is about the time I’d be starting to feel really fucking stupid.

They’ve barely been in charge for 5 minutes, yet they’ve managed to abandon all the policies, promises and pledges that might vaguely have appealed to me, or at least to the traditional conservative.

As if that’s not depressing enough, they rub our faces in it by being as good as their word on the most hideous, interfering, statist articles of Social Democratic endarkenment that they’d promised us.

Take Mr Andrew Lansley, who got a brief mention the other day.

In February, Obo wrote a post about one of Lansley’s proposals, and he tackled the subject with his usual uncompromising aplomb.

Hannan and Carswell are regarded as utter fucking lunatics by the Tory leadership, who prefer to have policies like this instead:

Andrew Lansley, the Shadow Health Secretary, has launched the Conservative Party’s new green paper on public health – A Healthier Nation.
The Green Paper outlines how we will tackle Britain’s public health crisis by completely overhauling Labour’s failing system of dealing with public health.

Okaaaaayyyy …

Much greater responsibility for tackling problems like obesity, drug use and teenage pregnancy will be devolved to communities on a new payment-by results basis, with extra rewards for improving the public health of the poorest. In spending their dedicated public health budgets, communities will be obliged to partner with local bodies, like schools, businesses, councils and GPs.

I’m sorry, Mr Lansley, but just chucking the word "devolved" in there doesn’t fucking mean shit, you mendacious cunt. And what’s with this "partnering" cockwaffle? Obliged? So if my local trust doesn’t want to "partner", fuck them anyway? How is that "devolution", you lying fuck?

There will be a new focus on innovative strategies, with national campaigns harnessing the latest behaviour change research and delivered by providers who are paid by results. We will provide prizes for ‘open source’ suggestions for successful new public health strategies.

No. No. No. Just fucking NO!

And as assuredly as anything ‘good’ has been abandoned, everything ‘bad’ is being pursued with relish, and to the letter.

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Schools, employers, the food and drink industry and communities themselves are being urged to do their bit to make the nation healthier.

Ministers said they wanted to unlock the potential of all sections of society in setting out their plans.

Projects being promoted include everything from bike training in schools to voluntary cuts in salt and fat content by food manufacturers.

I’m sorry? What? I seem to recall the last 10 years have been marked by schools forcing kids to have ‘healthy’ school meals, intruding into packed-lunch items in search of contraband calories, by the drinks industry being forced to adopt “Drink Aware” bollocks and food manufacturers ruining every damned item of food they’ve sold by replacing all the fat, salt and sugar with sawdust and grubs.

And as if companies don’t already do enough interfering and hectoring of their staff?

But no, it’s not enough. Andrew Lansley thinks there’s still some way to go. Still some potential to be unlocked. Because we’re not absolutely fucking miserable and downtrodden yet, so there must be pockets of joy, fun and indulgence that have remained beyond the reach of the bully-state.

Good job the Big Society is here to make sure that everyone is equally, and irrevocably miserable.

Isn’t this just the most New Labour thing you ever heard? Heir to Blair indeed.

If you voted for this, you’re a fucking idiot and I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire.

AJ

UPDATE: TimDog (in the comments below, the filthy linkwhore) has written a very good piece on this.

Zombie blogging

You may have noticed that my posting has been almost non-existent for the last 2 months.

The reasons are myriad. They are much the same as those touched upon by Obo and others.

The Con-Dem government are just as dreadful, overbearing and untrustworthy as the shitbags they replaced.

We are still being sold out to the EU. Those who make the effort are still being taken for a ride by those who don’t. Taxes are rising. The war on the motorist has far from come to an end. The database state is writ large and growing. The police continue to bully, beat and belittle members of the public. The CPS continue to pursue prosecutions that are absurd and chilling. The civil servants and the unelected rump of local government are still very much in control.

The day after day, drip drip drip of screeching and shroud-waving by the special interest groups who are facing cuts… police, students, librarians, imbecilic outreach workers, antediluvian union throwbacks, the teachers, the BBC etc makes me want to vomit.

Of course none of them want their particular slice of pie trimming. And of course they can come up with all sorts of doomsday scenarios, to scare the mongs into compromising, from dead babies to rape & pillage.

Listen up, people. You’ve been on an amazingly accommodating gravy train for the last 10+ years. It’s heading for the buffers,fast, and you should hope it can be brought to a controlled stop, or we are ALL fucked.

I’ve been paying for it. I’ve long since had enough of paying for it. Do you get that? Do you get that for years and years, I’ve paid much higher than average contributions to the state, in taxes, and that I have never, and will likely never, receive anything even approaching value for money? Do you see how that might piss me off?

So shed those sweet sweet tears, as your precious edifices are chipped away at. They are manna from heaven for me.

But they are not enough. The state will continue to expand in real terms, liberty will continue to be diminished, from the EU and the UK.

So back to the initial point. Of blogging, or lack of it.

The political blogowotsit is really all either a self-affirming echo chamber of back-slapping chums, or an argument with a shouty, and usually illiterate, brick wall, isn’t it?

I’ve given it a fair go, and it has become tiring. As Mr Condescension of the Guardian suggests, I’m feeling a lack of rage and anger – his reasoning is quite faulty, even if he stumbles upon some accurate conclusions.

So what’s changed? Why the quiet? Wither the fury?

Well, rage, anger and fury spring from the tiny hope that things can get better.

And so these vigorous emotions have given way to abject despair. You can see for yourself in the archives that the cynic in me never really expected things to be any different under the new lot. But I had to hope that the end of the Blair/Brown era would be a watershed.

And now what hope there was, however silly it might have been, is all but extinguished.

Nothing has changed. Nor will it.

The Labour monster was cast out and the dying hydra’s heads are snapping at each other furiously. It’s an amusing sideshow, but it’s of little consequence.

I’m not expecting the burden of taxation to ever be reduced in real terms. We have already been shown what we suspected – that Cameron’s pledges on the EU are meaningless, because Lisbon trumps the need for further legislation or treaty changes. The lights will still be going out before the end of this parliament, thanks to the influence of the Lib Dems on energy policy. I don’t expect to walk into a pub where I can smoke ever again. I don’t expect the police to be reformed for the better. I don’t expect the CPS to be taken in hand. I don’t expect family justice, or the judicial and punitive bias against men to improve. I don’t expect appeasement of radical Islam to decline. I don’t expect the transport system to improve; overcrowding, no new roads, vainglorious rail projects, hellish airports, spiralling costs, penalties and delays.

And a million Prima Donnas are crying about some marginal cuts to their pet projects?

So you see, *sigh*…  What’s the fucking point?

I need to change tack. I also need someone to edit my heavily medicated stream of consciousness. Apply in the comments section.

AJ

Elucidation

Back in February, The Spectator posed the question:

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“Huh, I already know the answer to that one,” thought I.

So I was apparently in the minority, in that I was perfectly un-shocked by this:

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David Cameron is planning to approve a £435m increase in Britain’s contribution to the EU next year, prompting a row with the Tory right as he admits defeat in a battle to freeze Europe’s budget.

Not exactly ring-fenced then, let alone cut back, this EU budget. And Cameron ‘admitted defeat’.

Being the black-and-white chap that I am, I’ve long held by a personal maxim, that “a compromise is a defeat one is forced to smile about”.

Lo, and behold…

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Success?

Oh.. okay. Nice work, Spam.

Take the rest of the day off. Please.

I suppose he could have claimed it as a win were it not for the fact that he knew it was coming…

Mr Cameron said he had inherited the budget deal

… so he wasn’t ambushed.

And, I don’t remember him ever saying anything about having to cut domestic expenditure in order to pay for increased obligations to the EU. Perhaps so as not to alert the media to euro-scepticism, but more likely so as not to alert the party faithful to the fact that Cameron isn’t euro-sceptic in the slightest.

Either way, this cuts to the heart of why I was unable to vote for the Tories at the last election.

Another angle on the whole thing can be read here. Doubtless other frothage is out there…

Stop the ride. I wanna get off, before I vomit.

AJ

UPDATE: In case you were wondering how all the EU’s filth loot would be apportioned…

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Tyranny of the NIMBYs

First they came for the motor racing, but you didn’t speak out, because you weren’t a motor racing enthusiast.

Then they came for the chiiiiilldreeeen’s playtime. You’re fucking paying attention now, aren’t you?

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A school has reluctantly banned hard-ball games and reduced pupil numbers in outdoor breaks after neighbours complained about "excessive" noise.

Boisterous children have played in the grounds of Barlby primary school, near Selby in North Yorkshire, for more than a century, but governors say that modern legislation has forced the move.

Three nearby residents have complained repeatedly to Selby district council, and the school feared that a noise abatement order might follow, imposing more severe restrictions.

Well, look. I don’t have kids. Hell, I can’t even stand the grotty little sods. But I’m speaking out. Do you see?

Three people – fucking three! – complained about the noise of children playing. In a school playground. That’s been a school playground for more than 100 years.

And the school has to roll over because of stupid NIMBY-loving laws – probably brought in by Labour, but the other lot are just as big a bunch of cunts, so it’s a moot point.

Or perhaps the school could have had more robust legal advice? And just who are these three people who seem to be able to make the world bend their will? What is it I should know?

AJ

Graduate tax ruled out – surcharges and levies ruled in.

This is really very tiresome semantic bullshit.

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Sounds reasonable on the face of it, doesn’t it?

Addressing senior vice-chancellors, he ruled out imposing a “full-blown graduate tax” after admitting it could drive top students overseas.

Well, that’s a relief. Because punit.. oh wait..

But he said the Government was investigating the possibly of a “progressive” funding system in which students take out loans to cover higher fees – and wealthier graduates pay them back at a more expensive rate.

Analysts have suggested that graduates with the largest salaries could pay for an extra two years or face stiffer charges than those on low incomes.

What. The. Fuck?

Can someone please explain to Mr “two brains” Willets that graduates with the largest salaries ALREADY PAY THE MOST TAX…. at 40% or even 50%. They and their employers also play more National Insurance contributions.

Out of their take home pay, they will pay out more VAT, fuel tax, alcohol tax and, perish the thought that even smart people sometimes like to smoke, tobacco tax.

And, as for ‘ruling out a full-blown graduate tax’… if it looks like a graduate tax and it quacks like a graduate tax, it’s a fucking graduate tax.

The inevitable unintended consequences will depend on the small print, but consider this: In the current jobs climate, a chap could easily come to the conclusion that going back to university for the final year of a bachelors degree would open him up to punitive costs that he’d avoid by quitting, with little or no downside, when you consider how worthless most 1st degrees are these days.

He may initially find it harder to get his foot on the career ladder, but he’ll be 12-24 months ahead of the fools who stayed on and finished their course, possibly emerging with a Desmond or a Douglas.

Same shit, different puppets.

AJ

In case you had forgotten about HMRC data (in)competence

From 2007:

Two computer discs holding the personal details of all families in the UK with a child under 16 have gone missing.

The Child Benefit data on them includes name, address, date of birth, National Insurance number and, where relevant, bank details of 25 million people.

25 million people.

Shall we paraphrase for the future?

From 2012:

Two computer discs holding the personal details of all PAYE taxpayers in the UK have gone missing.

The data on them includes name, address, date of birth, National Insurance number and, where relevant, employers, salaries and bank details of 25 million people.

The important additional element is, of course, that you’ll be able to download a file from the internet (or query a search engine), to get details of how much EVERYONE earns and where they earn it.

Your can find out the salary of your ex, your kids, your parents, the people next door, your boss, your next date, the guy who’s selling you a car, that lazy sod who has the same job title as you but does half the work.

Are you comfortable with that? That your ex, your kids, your parents, the people next door, your boss, your next date, the guy who’s selling you a car, that lazy sod who has the same job title as you, will all know precisely how much you earn?

Unlucky enough to end up in the papers? if it’s in the public domain, however that maybe, the information will be reported by someone, whether it’s a blogger or journalist.

Take comfort though, because back in 2007,

The Conservatives described the incident as a "catastrophic" failure.

So I think we’re safe. Oh yes. No doubt in my mind.

AJ

This is just getting fucking tiresome now.

Sort this out, Eric Pickles you Happy Shopper Peter Griffin-lookalike.

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It had been thought plans for workplace parking levies would be abandoned after ministers declared an end to the "war on motorists" within days of the Coalition’s formation.

Yeah – I think we already realised Philip Hammond was taking the piss out of us.

Initially, the parking levy was seen as a way to tackle congestion and cut carbon emissions. Now, there is growing evidence it is also being seen as a source of extra cash. Nottingham City Council will be the first council to impose a £250 levy on local employers, from 2012. Within two years, the bill will rise to £350 and will target all companies with 11 or more parking spaces.

Ah – the old cutting congestion and emissions gag. It won’t do either, and we all know why. People who drive to work do so because there is no viable alternative. They have no public transport alternative that would save them time or money, both of which are at a premium.

So I suppose that we should be grateful that some of them have decided to stop hiding behind that tired old eco bullshit.

Bristol City Council, for example, in its draft strategy, describes the levy as a "revenue stream" to help fund other transport initiatives.

Hampshire council are really taking the piss with their cover story though. I’m pretty sure Hampshire is true blue Tory, but nevertheless…

Hampshire County Council, meanwhile, is considering a "modest" – but unspecified – charge for the south of the region, including Southampton and Portsmouth, to, says a consultation document, "redress the imbalance between free commuter parking for some staff at office complexes" and "parking for other staff in public spaces where payment is required".

What they patently refuse to acknowledge is that for a lot of people who use their cars, there simply is no public transport alternative and there never will be for anyone who lives and works outside of a major city. No amount of buses, trams, trains, bicycles or carpooling is ever going to make any difference whatsoever to commuters in most of Britain. We are a cash-cow.

"Based on Nottingham it would probably work out at about £1 a day. Whether companies would pass the cost on to their staff may vary," she said. "This may not change behaviour but could raise money for public transport."

My company has around 2000 parking spaces in the UK. There is no practicable way to pass charges onto individuals on a pro-rata basis per their car-park usage.

So the company swallows the cost and claws it back by further reducing pay rises, which have already fallen significantly behind inflation over the last 3 years.

Experts on local government believe that authorities may have little alternative but to turn to drivers as a source of income. “Councils are going to look at that kind of a thing as an option,” said Caroline Green, a policy consultant with the Local Government Association. “Traditional forms of money raising will not be sufficient.”

Well I’ve got a better idea, which will avoid this whole problem at a stroke.

It’s one that I’ve personally had to get to grips with this year, as has everyone else in the private sector. If you work in the public sector, this is gonna blow your tiny mind.

Cut costs. Spend less. Waste less. It’s really quite simple, you fucking leeches.

AJ

Thieving Tory Socialist Bastard

Sorry – it’s behind the Times’ paywall, but it deserves mentioning, because it demonstrates that, in Andrew Mitchell, we have a Tory minister who is, in fact, a redistributive socialist.

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After a harrowing trip to meet flood victims in Pakistan, a cabinet minister has called on workers who receive bonuses to donate some of the money to charity.

Errr okay. After 13 years of Labour I’m hideously overtaxed, my pension and other investments have been repeatedly decimated by Gordon Brown’s government. And you think I’ve got spare money to pour into a bottomless pit?

And I’m not even going to bother rehearsing the arguments regarding donating money to Pakistan.*

The Tory socialist goes further.

“There are some companies who require people who are paid bonuses to give some of it away,” Mitchell said. “It is about accepting that we all have a part to play when it comes to giving aid.”

That’s an incredible statement from a Conservative MP, don’t you think?

Let me tell you that I’d play merry fucking hell if my company forced me to give a single penny of my hard earned pay over to any sort of charity. Yes I get a bonus, comprising elements related to personal performance and company performance. It’s not a massive sum, but it’s written into my contract of employment and it was one of the reasons I took the job in the first place.

Oh sure, they run a GiftAid scheme for those who choose to donate. They contract that out to some hokey outfit who have a list of about 40 charities you can give to. I ran through the list and identified that nearly 30 of those were fake charities according accounts filed with the Charities Commission.

What this implies is that I’ve already given involuntarily to those charities via taxes. So naturally I don’t give anything more to them. Not a red cent.

But to be forced to make donations? Fuck. That.

What’s that you say? I’ve already given money to Pakistan? Of course I have. Silly me.

Mitchell has just doubled the government’s contribution to the floods fund to more than £64m — so he can afford to take the moral high ground. However, the British public, while giving generously, are not digging as deep for this natural disaster as they have for others.

My share of that £64 million is already way more than I would be prepared to donate to the cause.

Perhaps my philanthropic aspect will become more prominent when the state stops taking my money with a gun to my head and giving it to causes – that more often than not I disagree with – on my behalf.

AJ

* If you’re quick, there was a surprisingly balanced debate on that matter on Any Questions on Friday night

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.

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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.

AJ

Cameron: Man of the (tedious pecksniff) people

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Yesterday, Mr Cameron responded to plans by 10 councils in the North West to create a by-law making it illegal to sell alcohol for less than 50p a unit.

He told the Manchester Evening News: "I think the idea of the councils coming together on this is a good one and we will certainly look at it very sympathetically.

"Where there can be local decisions we are very happy for that to happen. It may be that we need to do something to help deliver the localist answer."

"I think if what you’re trying to do is stop supermarkets from selling 20 tins of Stella for a fiver that’s what we’ve got to go after.

Dave, if you can tell me where I can buy 20 ‘tins’ of Stella for £5, do let me know, before they put a stop to it, because I could make a fucking killing.

Cheers,
AJ

ConDems busy with the *real issues*

I’m pleased to see they’re keeping focused on the prize.

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The coalition government is to put the fashion industry under pressure to stop promoting unrealistic body images and clamp down on airbrushed photographs in magazines and adverts.

Lynne Featherstone, the equalities minister, who has long campaigned against size-zero photoshoots, will convene a series of discussions this autumn with the fashion industry, including magazine editors and advertising executives, to discuss how to promote body confidence among young people.

WHAAAAAAAT?

Are you paying for that ‘series of discussions’, Lynne?

Oh, no, of course you’re not.

WE ARE, YOU LUDICROUS MONG.

BabeInPileOfMoneyEnhanced[1] 
Lynne Featherstone, after being airbrushed with a big pile of our cash.

AJ

The result is in: ConDemFail

16th July:

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My fingers were crossed for a triumph of hope over experience.

Today:

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Theresa May, the Home Secretary, will today announce she plans to sign up to the so-called European Investigation Order (EIO), The Daily Telegraph understands.

That’s it, then. The honeymoon is absolutely 100% over.

Liberties endangered, powers given away to the EU, without a referendum.

Slow hand clap for Cameron and May, everybody.

AJ

Smaller government, less regulation, more freedom.

Not.

Department of Energy and Climate Change confirmed that the Government was considering a variable stamp duty rate to encourage people to green up their homes.

‘There are many incentives that we are considering to tackle home efficiency. No final decision has been made, but we are considering it,’ a spokesman said.

Since 2008 all homes put up for sale have had an energy performance certificate, which ranks them on a scale from A for the best, to G for the least efficient.

To avoid paying the higher stamp duty, a home would need to be upgraded to at least a band E.

Ah yes, because when the home information packs were ‘scrapped’, there was still something stuck to our shoe. The Energy Performance Certificate, which is mandated by the EU.

The proposals would be introduced alongside the Government’s Green Deal – a £90 billion scheme to cut the fuel bills of 14 million homes.

Under the Green Deal, householders will be offered "free" green makeovers by energy companies, local councils or DIY chains from 2012.

Free’? Ah – as in more freedom? Oh..

The money spent on new insulation, double glazing or replacement boilers will be claimed back from the savings made in energy bills.

The Government says the green makeovers are essential if the UK is to meet its legally binding targets of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 34 per cent of their 1990 levels within 10 years.

Ah yes. Greenhouse gases. The science isn’t settled there, even.

Why do physicists keep silent? Because the greenhouse-effect is based on backradiation and to understand that backradiation is unphysical, requires understanding the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. But the 2nd Law is a mystery to modern physicists and thus a modern physicist cannot say what should be said, namely that backradiation violates the 2nd Law and thus the greenhouse-effect is fiction.

Of course, such thought could be outlawed as a heresy by the EU*.

Or, it could just be outlawed in one EU country, that could then seek to arrest and extradite people who publish skeptical blogs elsewhere in Europe where no such offence exists.

FFS.

AJ

* This is a link to the BNP website. I don’t accept that it can be dismissed solely on that basis.

What???

Speechless.

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New laws are being passed by MPs which allow them to avoid tax on their expenses, including their commute to Westminster, free travel for spouses and late-night meals in the House of Commons.

Under the Finance Bill, MPs will be given exemptions so they cannot be pursued by the taxman over their claims.

MPs claim about £6m a year in travel expenses and the new laws will formalise a special concession that they are granted by HM Revenue & Customs.

Tax experts say it means they will now be guaranteed special treatment compared with ordinary employees.

Mike Truman, editor of Taxation Magazine, said: “They’re voting themselves an exemption from scrutiny. Other employees would face a tax bill.”

You. Utter. Fucking. Cunts.

AJ

Censlus

Obo recently covered the fact that BluLabour have performed an EPIC U-turn on the 2011 census.

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Invasive. Intrusive. Unsuitable. That was how the Conservatives described next year’s census plans when they were in opposition.

So, how have things changed since the coalition took over from Labour, and Mr Hurd became a minister in the Cabinet Office?

The director of the England and Wales census Glen Watson told the BBC: "They haven’t expressed those reservations to me since taking office." His plans have not changed since election day.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: "The expenses already committed to the census mean any changes are difficult.

Utter boswellox, Mr Maude. You know it, and I know it.

I do find this quote particularly surprising, though:

Alex Deane from the Big Brother Watch campaign group is encouraging anyone who finds the questions intrusive not to comply.

He said: "I don’t imagine for a moment that putting a blank or palpably absurd answer – Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck – would result in a prosecution for anyone, and anyone who feels that they’re having their privacy intruded upon should feel free in my view to put that."

Don’t you, Alex? Although I don’t agree with Big Brother Watch on every issue, the blog is an invaluable source of information about the intrusive surveillance state, and BBW is a doughty campaigner and advocate on these matters.

Day after day, they carry tales of excessive behaviour and abuses of power by low-level state appointed pecksniffs, driven by a heady cocktail of targets and zeal.

Failure to properly complete your census form can attract a £1000 fine.

So does he really think that a department of state (or QUANGO) that needs to cut costs and justify its existence will fail to pursue the non-compliant with fresh vigour?

Mr Watson revealed that in 2001 3m people did not return a completed census questionnaire. Fewer than 100 were prosecuted.

I’m going to bet that there are upwards of 1000 prosecutions on the back of the 2011 census. Perhaps thousands more.

You or I could be one of them, if we don’t give full details of anyone who stayed at our house on 27 March 2011. Or what type of heating we have, or Christ knows what other pecksniffery in their 32 page questionnaire.

Well, I’m a Native American Indian practitioner of Buddhism. I heat my tepee with burning babies. On the night in question Tony Blair, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Beth Ditto stayed at my house. I speak no English. I don’t sleep, so my house has 7 reception rooms, and no bedrooms.

Of course, this post is prompted by the story that the Tories are implying that they’ll ditch the census after 2011 and do something else. I’ll believe it when I see it.

AJ

The day my optimism about the coalition died

I thought we’d seen the last of this crap:

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Theresa May, who is the Equalities Minister as well as Home Secretary, said that the implementation of the Equality Act, which was passed into law in the last Parliament, would go ahead as planned from next October.

Mrs May said that the new law – which brings together nine separate pieces of legislation into a single act – would make it easier to comply with anti-discrimination rules.

Oh, that’s all it is, is it? A tidying-up exercise. Where have I heard that before. Oh yes. Lisbon Treaty.

Right.

Mrs May said that implementing the act in accord with the planned timetable demonstrated the new coalition Government’s commitment to equality.

”By making the law easier to understand, the Equality Act will help businesses treat staff fairly and meet the needs of a diverse customer base,” she said.

Meet the needs of a diverse customer base? You mean, we make stuff, and sell it to people who want to buy it? Sort of like a ‘market’ of some kind.

”A successful economy needs the full participation of all its citizens and we are committed to implementing the Act in the best way for business.”

I .. err.. well. Right. That’s like saying, “we’re going to make this leather jacket in the best way for the cow.”

*sigh*

AJ

Double backflip of the day

Comes from Andrew Lansley. Ready for the dissonance?

Mr Lansley said people needed to take responsibility for their own health.

He warned lecturing people often ended up being counter-productive.

So far so good.

“If we are constantly lecturing people and trying to tell them what to do, we will actually find that we undermine and are counterproductive in the results that we achieve,” said the health secretary, who has pledged to rename the Department of Health the “Department of Public Health”.

Department of Public Health? *sigh*

This is one of those matters on which the Daily Mash speaks the ultimate truth as clearly as it is possible to do.

Professor Henry Brubaker, of the Institute for Studies, said: “Once again the BMA is talking about alcohol being a threat to ‘public’ health as if that’s an actual thing.

“There is ‘my’ health, which is ‘mine’, and ‘your’ health which is ‘yours’, but there is no ‘our’ health. D’you see?

Still, at least he’s slapping that prick Jamie Oliver. Oh.. hold on.

Mr Lansley said the consumption of salty foods could be reduced but none of this would work unless people’s behaviour changed.

I can only suggest he takes the rest of the year off, because he’s raising my blood pressure right now.

If public health exists, then perhaps he should have words with his fellow cabinet members about the radiation risks of new airport scanners. No warning on those, is there?

AJ

Dear Philip Hammond

When you said

"We will end the war on motorists. Motoring has got to get greener but the car is not going to go away."

…is this what you had in mind?

image

Ministers are proposing a 20mph speed limit on urban roads to reduce deaths and reclaim the streets for cyclists and pedestrians.

The reduction from 30mph would apply to all town centre and residential streets except busy through roads, which will remain at the existing limit.

Is it any wonder we already treat posted speed-limits as advisory?

Edmund King, president of the AA, warned that motorists could ignore the new limits.

He said: “In our view it is more effective to target 20mph zones where they are really needed and are almost self-enforcing.

“If it becomes the default, you will get a lot of 20mph limits that aren’t warranted and are just ignored. The deterrent effect will wear off, like the 70mph speed limit on motorways.”

Quite so. Over the years, the reductions of various speed limits coupled with draconian and arbitrary enforcement has persuaded me to slow down and drive more sedately.

I could never have predicted the consequences. Instead of focussing my full attention on the road, I am now so unencumbered by the task of driving itself that I have spare capacity to drink coffee, roll a cigarette, program my sat-nav and check twitter on my phone.

If you give me the opportunity to drive at the pace I want to drive at, all of those dangerous and superfluous activities go straight out of the window, in favour of focussing on the engaging task at hand.

If the government wants to improve safety in the world of motoring, instead of salami slicing speed limits and blood alcohol limits, they should focus on raising standards. If that means every license holder being re-tested (at their own expense) every five years, then so be it.

If that means 10% of the motoring population are removed from the roads every five years, so be it.

If it means finding a way to persuade insurers, and judges, that an advanced motoring qualification is worthy of significantly favourable treatment, so be it.

After all,

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.

Or shall we continue with the old socialist politics of punishing the many for the sins of the few?

AJ