February 4th, 2007
I've been looking back to the beginning of the Blair regime - that time of misplaced hope, 'glad, confident morning', etc. - and was struck by a number of things in the New Labour manifesto
. This in particular now strikes a rather chilling note:
"New Labour is the political arm of none other than the British people as a whole."
I mean WTF? Isn't that the kind of thing totalitarian regimes say about themselves? At least we can't pretend we weren't told.
Then there's already an indication of a desire to play fast and loose with the legal system:
"...fast-track punishment for persistent young offenders by halving the time from arrest to sentencing"
Note the missing stage of trial and actually needing to be found guilty. As ever it's hard to believe so many of them are trained lawyers.
Some stuff, though is almost comic in the mismatch between what they said and what they actually did:
"...In health policy, we will safeguard the basic principles of the NHS, which we founded, but will not return to the top-down management of the 1970s. So we will keep the planning and provision of healthcare separate, but put planning on a longer-term, decentralised and more co-operative basis. The key is to root out unnecessary administrative cost, and to spend money on the right things - frontline care..."
"...Over-centralisation of government and lack of accountability was a problem in governments of both left and right. Labour is committed to the democratic renewal of our country through decentralisation and the elimination of excessive government secrecy..."
But best of all is the list of 10 pledges, of which this is number nine:
"We will clean up politics, decentralise political power throughout the United Kingdom and put the funding of political parties on a proper and accountable basis."
Yeah, right. Maybe it was a typo and they meant 'We will clean up in
Whilst shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart; nor will moderation be utterly exiled from the minds of tyrants.
December 6th, 2006
How long now before this
becomes New Labour policy? With the addition of Local Authority inspectors, of course. [via
HL Mencken once said that conscience is "the inner voice that warns us that someone may be looking".
November 15th, 2006
So, chocolate cuts your blood clot risk
and previous research has indicated it's good for your heart. Is everything in Sleeper
going to come true? When can I order my Orgasmatron
Hmmm, right now apparently
, and they say it gives great head ... massage.
For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.
November 13th, 2006
As the Government talks once again of defining (for its own purposes) that elusive concept
, over at the Ministry of Truth, Unity is pondering the nature of Britishness
To become British, one simply needs to find one's sense of Britishness within oneself and not conform to the values and expectations of others, a solution that is, in all respects, consistent with the traditions of liberal individualism that the present government are seeking to do away with.
Yes, my apprentice. It is not enough to merely study Britishness. To become British one must find the inner Briton. Britain as neither a monarchy nor a democracy, but rather a state of mind. I suspect you could apply similar reasoning to any nationality, really, but it does seem particularly apposite in the case of this country.
It's hard to reduce ideas of identity to a simple list of attributes, something that is more associated with nationalistic dictatorships than anything I'd recognise as a liberal democracy. Indeed I wonder if that is the attraction - government extending its role even over our very concept of ourselves.
On the other hand, apparently there are always two things
about any subject. So for me what are the two things about Britishness? What sums up that 'liberal individualism' that Unity correctly identifies as the core feature of being a Briton?
- Mind your own fucking business.
- I said, mind your own fucking business.
Yeah, that sounds about right.
One of the most important signs of the existence of a democracy is that when there is a knock at the door at 5 in the morning, one is completely certain that it is the milkman.
November 4th, 2006
I am probably going to be categorised as a 'climate change denier' - a phrase redolent of religious fanaticism - so let's get that out of the way to start with. Climate change is real - indeed changeability is surely one of the defining characteristics of the climate. It's almost as warm now as it was a thousand years ago, and three hundred years ago it was much colder. The question has never been whether the climate is changing, but rather to what extent, if any, human agency has an effect on the direction and magnitude of the change. Here, I am somewhat sceptical. Humans have always overestimated their importance and failed to grasp just how mind-bogglingly big the earth is. I'm fairly sure that the anthropogenic element in any warming is relatively minor, and that the vast majority of it is caused by natural factors outwith (if you will forgive the Scotticism) human control.
What does interest me though, is the unabated enthusiasm a significant proportion of the human race seems to have for doomsday scenarios
. Why do they find the prospect of death on an inconceivable scale so appealing? What is the attraction in seeing yourself as part of the last generation of the human race? Or is it (in their imaginations) only others that do the dying, while they emerge from the disaster either translated to a higher plane
, or as the inheritors of a new (and somewhat emptier) planet? We have, of course, as a species been here many times before
. The difference being that in the past it was difficult to reach substantial numbers of willing believers with your message of doom. In the past half century this has become increasingly easy. I suspect that this alone is sufficient to explain the growth from the 1960s onwards of groups predicting (always, for nothing really changes, wrongly) imminent catastrophe, whether from overpopulation, resource depletion, pollution, or - as now - climate change. While the imputed cause may change, the message is always the same: mankind is sinful and must be punished. Only the sins have changed to match our secular age from religious malfeasance to crimes against nature.
Yet as protestors gather for a rally under the banner of 'Stop climate chaos
', I want to issue a, probably forlorn, plea to them to look inside their minds and ask themselves why they are so filled with enthusiasm, why their faces glow with the light of fanaticism at the thought, or rather the conviction, that humanity faces a catastrophe.
It seems that for many, this end is not to be feared, but rather embraced - they simply cannot wait for the promised catastrophe and the billions of deaths that will ensue. Mere change is not enough - it must be the end of the world.
They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance.
November 3rd, 2006
gave me the best laugh of the day. Ted Haggard, though. Sounds like a made up name, don't you think? Clearly, this is one of those stories that brings a warm glow to the heart of every right-thinking person. It almost doesn't matter if it's true, though it would be much more fun if it were.
He really is one of those people for whom the word 'oleaginous' might have been specially-minted, oozing false sincerity and fellowship from every pore, while cheerfully condemning almost all of humanity to eternal torture and clearly relishing the prospect. It's not enough for him to be 'saved' - anyone who disagrees with him has to be 'damned' as well.
Life's just a bugger sometimes, isn't it?
*Not often I get to use a genuine biblical quote as a title
Self-respect: The secure feeling that no one, as yet, is suspicious.
October 28th, 2006
Once again we see that there is no idea for a new law so stupid that you can't get a policeman to speak up for it. So, burning a flag should be a criminal offence
, should it? Not for any reason it would seem other than the usual politician's reason - passing a new law is a substitute for enforcing the laws we already have. I'm surprised to see the police going down the same political route. Actually, no, hang on. I'm not
surprised to see the police taking the same easy option as New Labour have been taking for nearly a decade (and, to be honest, the Tories before them), since under the present government the police have become totally politicised.
The useless prick who drew up these and other proposals is quoted as saying:
"There appears to be a growing public perception that policing of demonstrations is unduly lenient."
Perhaps he should have considered that the reason for this is that his force has singularly failed to enforce existing laws against some demonstrations (the defining characteristic of the leniently policed demonstrations will be left as an exercise for the reader). Resulting not, as any fule kno, from a lack of laws, but rather from a lack of will on the part of the Met hierarchy to do their duty and enforce the law impartially.
Meanwhile, Lord Goldsmith is 'preparing a package of announcements'. That sort of thing always makes me shudder these days. What new repressive abomination are they dreaming up? Which further part of our liberty will be chipped away? Apparently 'Everything is on the table' so that 'We are hoping to announce a national strategy for dealing with these people in November.'
Is it just me, or is there something chilling in the phrase 'these people'? Still, there's always a New Labour rent-a-mouth MP ready to do his arse-licking duty (some people really have both no brains and no shame). Step forward Shahid Malik
- maybe there's a promotion in it for you.
For fuck's sake - why not go the whole hog and and just ban dissent altogether? Oh hang on - they already did
Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe.
October 27th, 2006
This blog is 25% evil, seemingly. Unfortunately, I can't pinpoint which 25%.
Less evil than either DK or Mr Eugenides! Though a devil that's less than 50% evil is a bit hard to take seriously.
This site meanwhile is 63% evil (an underestimate, I feel). And John Reid - 65% evil. But try putting 'Gordon Brown MP' into the text box: 99% evil. You know it makes sense...
BTW, we were all wrong it seems. Apple is more evil than Microsoft.
Update: even adding the words 'Gordon Brown MP' upped my evil rating to 42%! Lord knows what I've done now... I dare not even write his name. From now on he is just 'the Evil One".
Applause is the spur of noble minds, the end and aim of weak ones.
October 22nd, 2006
Oh god. I think I'll have to kill myself. I am a nerd. Not just a nerd, but a Supreme Nerd God. Take the test
. Please. Make me feel better about myself.
The penalty that good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves.