Friday, October 31, 2008

The New Puritanism

Obviously keen to follow up their campaign to make smokers into a demonised section of society - latest plans show that smokers won't be allowed to adopt or foster children - the Government are now going after the other big revenue generators: drinkers.

In the past month I've seen proposals to increase the minimum age for purchasing alcohol to 21 (and hasn't that worked out brilliantly in the US?), for there to be a separate area in shops for alcohol so that customers have to queue twice (so that their "alcohol purchases can be scrutinised by other shoppers") and in Scotland, a proposal that while you can buy alcohol in pubs at 18, you can't buy it in a shop until you're 21 (which won't cause any confusion at all, will it?)

This is on top of the on-going campaigns the Government have to get fat people to eat less, and everyone else to eat what the Government decides is healthy and good for them. Combined with the recent call, by Ed Balls, to ban the opening of fast food outlets within a certain radius of schools, and you would suspect the Government are actively going after the Nanny State title.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol are both still legal, yes? Burger King, McDonald's and the like aren't force-feeding anyone, are they? We're not in some weird Arab state run by keep-fit non-smokers, are we? At least not yet, at any rate.

So why the hell are the Government insistent on interfering in people's lives to this extent?

You'd think that with the current financial crisis - nothing to do with Gordon Brown's management of the economy over the previous decade, oh dearie me, no - the Government would have less time to fuck about in the petty areas they seem to love. But no. You'd be quite wrong. Because the Prime Mentalist himself waded into the "scandal" of Jonathan Ross & Russell Brand's radio show to give his two pence worth.

Despite it being FUCK ALL to do with him - although handily deflecting public glaze from his general cockpuppetry - Brown demanded action be taken.

Why, you incompetent fucksock, are you getting involved? Oh wait, I know. It's because he's a fucking Puritan dictator.

He's the one who will decide what is good for us and what isn't. Anything that is bad will be banned, and the only things that are available will be those that are personally allowed by the Prime Minister. We people, you see, aren't pure enough of mind or deed to be allowed to make these choices for ourselves. We're too stupid to see the benefits or failings ourselves, so we *need* someone to tell us what to eat, what to drink, not to smoke, to do more exercise, to believe in a vengeful God who will punish us for not looking after the planet properly, to understand that the Prime Minister is doing a good job and not destroying the economy single-handed.

He is, in short, a cunt. A righteous cunt. A complete and utter righteous cunt.

Well here's something from me to you, Gordon. I will drink & smoke as I please and I will die when I'm supposed to. There's nothing you can do to stop me, because I am the revolution, and I want my fucking liberties back.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Contemptible Bastards

I see that prospective MPs may no longer be required to give their home address when they apply for election.

Harriet Harperson said: "Obviously, it is in the public interest for the public to know when they come to be voting in an election whether or not the candidate lives in that area or whether they live somewhere miles away... But whether or not there has to be the precise address of the flat number of the block in the particular street is questionable."

I'm guessing, call me cynical if you wish, that this is in direct response to The High Court ordering addresses be published as part of a wider Freedom of Information battle over expenses claims, to allow people to check MPs were living in properties they claimed for. In May the High Court ordered addresses to be published with expenses claims, but MPs voted to keep them private.

In its ruling, the High Court pointed out that "the addresses of well-known MPs like [Tony] Blair and [Margaret] Beckett were available in any event, and that every prospective MP would be registered as candidates and as electors, with names and addresses in the public electoral register." MPs now seem set on removing this information from all public record.

You'd think that if they had nothing to hide, then they would have nothing to fear.

Labels: ,

Friday, October 24, 2008


Phil Woolas has just followed up his previous assertion that "the population of the UK will not be allowed to top 70 million".

Which, in itself, is quite some statement.

Seeing as I'm fairly certain there's not a single fucking thing the Government could do if the entire population of the EU decided to come and live in, say, Nottinghamshire. One of the main points of the EU is that it allows freedom of movement between member states. It's also one of the main drawbacks, as it means none of the member countries has the ability to deny access to a fellow member's populace.

How does Phil think he'll be able to stem the tide of Johnny Foreigners arriving from within the EU? Well, let's just say he's a bit vague on that. Asked whether he had made an eye-catching pledge that the government could not keep - because it cannot restrict immigration from within the EU - Mr Woolas told Today: "No, I don't accept that at all."

He said: "What you cannot factor in is how many people leave the country. You cannot factor in, as you rightly say, movement from EU and that is why you can't put a precise figure - but what you can reassure the public over is that the general trend will be controlled."

How?!? You fucktard, the UK has NO control over immigration if the people coming in are from the EU. If, as is accepted, the population in the UK is currently 62 million, 10 million people come in from the EU in the next five year and no-one leaves, we'll already be over your 70 million figure and there'll be fuck all you can do to change it.

Are you planning on offering people incentives to leave? Because if you are, can I be first in the fucking queue?

I am the Revolution and to be honest, keep the fucking country, I'm leaving.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, October 23, 2008


You may, or may not, be aware of the law regarding the publication of obscene material - called obviously enough The Obscene Publications Act. The OPA also extends to t'internet, although up until now it had not been used in that context.

Yesterday, however, a Civil Servant from South Shields (had to be a fucking sand dancer, didn't it?) was in court for a trial over a blog posting he made, regarding the kidnap, torture and murder of "pop group" Girls Aloud.

John Ozimek from The Register noted
This is the first such prosecution for written material in nearly two decades – and a guilty verdict could have a serious and significant impact on the future regulation of the internet in the UK.

The case originated in summer 2007, when Mr Walker allegedly posted a work of fantasy – titled Girls (Scream) Aloud - about pop group Girls Aloud. The story describes in detail the kidnap, rape, mutilation and murder of band members Cheryl Cole, Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh, and ends with the sale of various body parts on eBay.

The piece was brought to the attention of the Internet Watch Foundation, whose remit includes the monitoring of internet material deemed to be criminally obscene: they in turn handed details over to the Police.

The true significance of this case – and the reason for our interest – is that it is the first prosecution under the Obscene Publications Act 1959 in respect of written content since 1991, when Manchester magistrate Derrick Fairclough ordered the seizure under section 3 of the OPA of David Britton’s Lord Horror. This would have allowed the book to be destroyed without jury trial. Again, the decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal.

The significance of this prosecution cannot therefore be understated. At present, the UK effectively has no sanction against written material, no matter how apparently obscene. The implication for UK surfers is immense. If a not guilty verdict is returned, then written material on the internet – as written material elsewhere – will return to its present near-privileged status. On the other hand, a guilty verdict could change much.
Interestingly, there are many 'swear bloggers' that may have to change their style quite significantly if a guilty verdict is returned.

I may be one of them. Cunts.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Avoiding The Elephant

You may be surprised to see that I've not mentioned the Government and the current banking fiasco/crisis. I've tried to avoid it as I think I would find it difficult to stop once I've begun*.

I've been following it, obviously - both on the BBC and in the Metro (the only newspaper I actually read now I'm a commuter) - but I've been in an unusual position for me. I just don't know what to say about it. I've read an analysis from an economist's point of view (Timmy), a stockbroker's point of view (British Dude), a Libertarian's point of view (LPUK) and from the ex-trader's more political point of view (Guido). And I'm still not entirely sure I understand what's gone on.

As far as I can tell - and anyone can point out where I've gone wrong here - the American banks were told by their Government that they had to lend money to people who they would not normally lend to (the so-called NINJA loans - No Income, No Job) in order to allow said people to buy houses. I'm guessing that the American economy isn't quite as built on house prices as the UK economy, but that by having a credit history, these people could be proper consumers.

So the banks lent the money, knowing that it was more likely these NINJAs would default. In order to avoid having the debt firmly sat on their books, the banks wrapped it up in smaller packages and sold it on. To other banks. But with a AAA rating so that it wouldn't look as toxic as it would turn out to be. Hence the amount of banks that started to get into trouble when the NINJAs started defaulting to such a major extent that the house prices in America started to fall dramatically.

As the banks couldn't trust each other (as the amount of trouble they were in was hidden or just plain unknown) they then wouldn't lend to each other. As they wouldn't lend to each other, the banks were less able to pay off any short term debts they had in trading balances. And they couldn't get any money in from anywhere apart from the Bank Of England, and going to them cap in hand made the banks look desperate & likely to collapse. Thus confidence in them eroded further.

The Government claim that they tried to save the banks, but after Robert Peston informed everyone that the Government had had a meeting with all the big four banks who were looking for cash, bank shares fell even further. Whether this was incompetence of the highest order, or a deliberate attempt by the Government to get the banks nationalised on the cheap, time will only tell. But when both the Prime Minister and the Governor of the Bank Of England come out within a day of each other saying the UK economy is going into recession (thus sparking a sell off of Sterling by any sensible trader around the world) the impression I get is that it's incompetence.

At the same time, Iceland's banking fell over quite spectacularly. UK public bodies had somewhere in the region of £1bn invested - hardly a surprise as the interest rate was unbelievably (for good reason) generous - and despite warnings being issued some months earlier. I've even seen reports here that there were warnings in July 2007 about the fragility of the Icelandic scheme. Entertainingly, the Audit Office (whose job is to ensure that £180bn of public sector spending provides "value for taxpayers" and should oversee any investment advice) had £10m tied up in the Icelandic banks, and the Audit Commission are now being investigated by the National Audit Office.

In order to "protect UK savers" the Prime Minister then used anti-terror legislation to freeze the accounts held in the Icelandic banks. Interesting that this legislation was used against a NATO ally, but such is the joy of function creep and badly worded (or not, depending if you're a conspiracy freak) legislation. More interestingly, the legislation only freezes the funds for 30 days, so in a couple of weeks we should have another announcement about Iceland.

The strange thing is, I've been through two recessions before, some bad financial times and three stock market crashes (yes, I am old). This latest one didn't wipe as much off the share prices as the last one (when the dotcom boom suddenly went bust in 2001 - mainly after everyone suddenly realised that none of the internet companies had a business model that actually made, you know, cash). This one hasn't seen interest rates go up to 15%, indeed they've just come down again. There hasn't even been a single power cut yet, let alone dead people not being buried.

I'm not saying that this isn't a financial crisis, but it seems to be based more in the financial markets than in real life. How many people (outside of bank staff) have been directly affected by this in the UK? 10,000? 50,000? 100,000? Out of a population of 62,000,000 that's not a huge amount.

Okay, so if you need to get a mortgage then it is now more difficult, but that's not necessarily a bad idea. The UK housing market was (and still is) over priced. If it falls, then more new buyers will be able to afford to get on the property ladder (having got deposits for more expensive properties). If you already have a mortgage that you can afford to repay, keep doing that and enjoy the fall in interest rates. Your house is worth less than you paid for it, probably, but you still have a roof over your head and you aren't starving to death. Chances are, if you don't move in the next 10 years it may eventually be worth more than it is now.

If you have a mortgage and can't afford to repay it, then (unless you've been made recently unemployed or had a change of circumstances) how were you planning on keeping the house anyway? Getting yourself in HUGE debt by hoping to sell your house for more money than you paid for it (so you eventually had no mortgage and a free house) is pretty much the same as the South Sea Bubble in 1720 - eventually, it will fail.

Why the Government were so insistent about nationalising the banks, rather than just letting them fail and guaranteeing savers their money back, I have no idea. Surely by propping the banks up, they're being told that no matter what stupid thing they do, the Government will always bail them out. Not going to make them take better decisions, is it?

Why the Tories didn't complain about the Government's plan and ask if there was a 'Plan B', I have no idea on that either. There was no mention in Labour's pledges to bail out banks. There was no discussion in Parliament about whether it was the right thing to do. Nothing. The Government just wade in with half a trillion pounds of taxpayer's money and do what, exactly? The FTSE is still hovering about 4000, the pound is still falling against a raft of currencies and the entire country is out of pocket.

How Gordon Brown has managed to come out of this looking like the saviour, when he was the Chancellor in charge of the country's finances for ten years prior, I similarly have no single clue. I'm still slightly surprised he hasn't called a state of emergency yet, and become a proper dictator.

Perhaps it's just a matter of time.

* - And having read the post, I think I was right. Apologies for the rather long rambling explanation of how I see the financial crisis.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Day Of Fantastic Quotes

Quite an interesting selection, in my opinion, showing the wit and stupidity of people in the UK in equal amounts.

In regard to this article about banning fast food outlets from opening "within 400m (0.4km) of areas often used by children", this beautiful bit of double speak Council leader councillor Clyde Loakes:
"There are more than enough fast food outlets in this borough and we want to stop any more from opening. The bottom line is that residents simply don't have enough choice because of the number of fast food takeaways - we don't want to tell them how to live their lives but we do want to give them the widest possible choice in what they can eat."

In response to this idea of putting anti-religious statements on London's buses, a wonderful statement of blind stupidity from Stephen Green of pressure group Christian Voice who said:
"People don't like being preached at."
as well as the equally fucking stupid:
"Bendy-buses, like atheism, are a danger to the public at large."
It's funny, I don't recall atheism or bendy buses causing many wars or bombing campaigns. Maybe I was off that day when we covered it in World History.

Again from the BBC, in an article about the latest book to have "angered Muslims" (really, are there any other types of Muslim?) a particularly funny comment from 'Mark, London':
"I understand the anger of Muslims. I grew up in a family of fundamentalist dental hygienists, and I know how angry I would be if someone wrote such blasphemous lies about the tooth fairy."
The best, for me, was a letter in today's Metro. I've tried to find a better link online, but this (registration required) seems to be the only place, on page 22. Here's a picture of it instead.

Labels: , ,

eXTReMe Tracker