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Monday
Jan292007

Governing for the government

Governing is meant to be done on behalf of the people, isn't it? You know, for their benefit. There are some people who actually think this happens too. Socialists, mainly - the few who haven't been disabused by the record of the current incumbents. Many more probably think that it's just a matter of getting the right socialist government in place. "Perhaps if Gordon Brown ran the country, he'd do things for our benefit. Or what about that nice Hilary Benn, he'd look after us wouldn't he?"

Back in the real world, there was an interesting article in Scotland on Sunday over the weekend which briefly revealed something of the true nature of government. By politicians, for politicians.

SCOTLAND is on the brink of a power crisis after an accident at one of the country's biggest electricity plants massively reduced supplies to the national grid.

Emergency legislation will be rushed through the Scottish Parliament early this week to allow Longannet power station, Fife, to burn gas as well as coal in a bid to stave off potential blackouts.

At first glance it's an extraordinary state of affairs that parliamentary legislation is required to allow a power station to burn a different mix of fuels. Talk about micro-managing the economy. Why can't they just let the power company decide?

Well, it's not hard to guess is it? Unions are in favour of coal. Unions fund Labour. Labour legislates to stop power company using gas. Public choice theory in action. 

 

Sunday
Jan282007

More on the BBC, LGF and Moslems

The BBC have closed down another thread that mentions LGF. This time it was a thread related to Bolton Council's decision to cancel its Holocaust Memorial Day.

This is a story which hasn't got any attention from the national press. The only report seems to be from Lancashire Today. Certainly the BBC don't seem to want anyone to find out about it.  Whether LGF's claim that the cancellation was at the instigation of the MCB is correct is not clear. The fact that the Council leader won't say who took the final decision suggests that a certain degree of suspicion is justified.

Saturday
Jan272007

BBC bans LGF

Little Green Footballs, the robustly anti-Islamist website run by Charles Johnson, has found itself in the sadly predictable position of being banned by the BBC's news forums. True to form, no evidence seems to have been presented as to why they are considered to be beyond the pale. The thread has been closed and they've even removed the title.

But given that Johnson was recently voted one of the top web entrepreneurs in the world by Forbes Magazine the Beeb are risking making themselves look even more stupid than they do usually. How can you ban one of the top websites in the world, just because you think it's a bit too right wing?  Hell, the BBC thinks anything to the right of Kim Il Sung is a bit suspect.

It's like banning the Sex Pistols or Frankie Goes to Hollywood. It does no good at all, and just helps drum up interest. I'm sure this is just going to drive still more traffic to LGF.

 

Thursday
Jan252007

Does Downing Street have two email systems?

Blairwatch is relaying rumours that Downing Street has a secret email system.

Update:
Sky News story here.
BBC coverage here (kept well off the front page. Surprise, surprise) 

Wednesday
Jan242007

Your taxes at work

Costs of borrowing a book in various London boroughs:

Camden £11.50
Greenwich £7.14
Hackney £10.07
Hammersmith £6.63
Islington £10.46
Kensington £8.54
Lambeth £10.29
Lewisham £5.77
Southwark £6.89
Tower Hamlets £9.90
Wandsworth £3.64
Westminster £5.91

The figures are from the Good Library Blog, and are calculated by dividing the library cost by the number of books loaned. It would be interesting to get the numbers of books loaned for each borough, which would let us derive an estimate of the total cash value of waste. It looks as though the figure for Camden could be over £7 per book loaned.  

Which suggests that taxpayers in Camden would be better off giving people book tokens and sending them off to Waterstones. 

 

Tuesday
Jan232007

Who does Ruth Turner work for?

Dominic Lawson has an article in the Indy today about Ruth Turner and the independence of the police. In it he say this:

The fact that Mr Blair is Prime Minister is, in an important sense, irrelevant to the case. This is all about the Labour Party. Ruth Turner is purely a Labour party appointee and is paid by the party; this whole matter relates to loans - or possibly that should read "loans" - given to the Labour Party.

This set me to thinking, because when the story broke last week the Times said this:

Turner, 36, is the first government official to be arrested in the inquiry. It also reveals a new line of investigation — looking at a potential cover-up rather than the crime.

 

So which is it? Does she work for the government or the Labour party? According to the Number 10 Website she's the Director of Government Relations, which sounds pretty much like a government job. But if that's the case, what is she doing getting involved in fundraising for the Labour party? 

Tuesday
Jan232007

Frank Field loses the plot. Or does he?

Extraordinary article by Frank Field over at Comment is Free. FF wants the Met to concentrate on preventing terrorist attacks rather than wasting their time on trivia like loans for peerages.

The commentariat are suitably gobsmacked - 130 comments so far, many questioning the man's sanity. FF has always come over to me as being one of the few people on the Labour benches who could reasonably be thought to be of compos mentis. This article just doesn't sound like him.

My theory? Blair has got something on him which Field can't ignore. 

Tuesday
Jan232007

More joined-up government

In yet another example of the breathtaking incompetence of the British State, the Metropolitan Police appear not to be registered under the Data Protection Act. The shambles keeps on growing.

Hat tip: Spy Blog 

Tuesday
Jan232007

State-funded intolerance

Unity at Ministry of Truth is upset about government funding of Catholic charities - charities which then discriminate against homosexuals when it comes to delivering their services. Not what I thought Chrisitianity was about, I must say, but I'm no expert.

Now I might take a slightly different approach to discrimination, seeing it as part of being free, but there's no question that the State shouldn't be funding organisations that do so. The Ggovernment is elected to look after everyone's interests, after all. If ever there was a quid pro quo for having to go along with the wishes of the majority, it is surely that the government doesn't actually encourage discrimination against you.

It's increasingly clear though that Labour is adopting a different approach. Evidence is growing quickly that they are governing for only for those who elected them, or those who can buy them off. So while Tony Blair is, at least publicly, not a Catholic, he clearly sees the Catholic Church as part of his constituency. So state-funded discrimination will become a feature of British life, in order to buy off a group of potential Labour voters. It's big state democracy in all its glory.

Now, as a small government kind of guy, I can sit back and say "I told you so". The problem for Unity and socialists in general is that they have no such get out. They believe that government can fund anything and anyone they like, provided the elections expressed the will of the people.

I say, if you give money to crooks, don't be surprised if they steal it.

(Updated to correct inadvertent capitalisation of Government. Lesson one of blogging - never write about grammar, spelling or editorial stylePsychotic.)

 

Sunday
Jan212007

The government

Could I just point out to everyone that capitalising government as "Government" is both incorrect, and lends a degree of respect that successive administrations simply don't deserve.

The cleaners, the chimney-sweeps, the night soil collection boys, the government.

Simple really. 

Sunday
Jan212007

More on BBC bias

Iain Dale is outraged over the BBC's attempt to bury news of Ruth Turner's arrest. I can't help but wonder how far down the news schedule they are going to put the forthcoming news of Tony Blair's arrest.
Saturday
Jan202007

Ruth Turner

So the big news yesterday was the arrest of a close aide of the Prime Minister - an extraordinary development in what must now be the biggest political story for a decade, if not longer.

And so what did BBC feel they should concentrate on? Conservative Home reports that the main story on Newsnight last night was:

An unknown Tory official in Bradford who - quite disgracefully - described a Labour councillor as a "cripple" in an email - for which he has apologised.

Meanwhile, the Times leads this morning on:Cancer study ordered into mobile phones, with an obscure academic claiming that there is a hint of a link between the two.

Professor Lawrie Challis, who is in the final stages of negotiation with the Department of Health and the mobile phone industry for the £3 million that he needs to fund the study, told The Times that research has shown that mobiles are very safe in the short term but that there is a “hint of something” for people using them longer.

OK, so he is calling for more funding for himself. How do I put this? It's not exactly a very important piece of news is it? It hardly even counts as news at all.

So let's just get our heads round this. The BBC, funded by taxes, goes for a naked piece of Labour party propaganda to try to divert attention from Blair's travails. We expect that from the BBC.  When the chips are down, the left will stick together. But the Times? Surely they're a little more independent? Perhaps not. Tim Worstall points out a Telegraph report that

[Tony Blair] has struck an unwritten deal with Rupert Murdoch to publish his memoirs after he quits for an advance of £4 million. But the book will not appear before the next general election.

That should keep them onside then, shouldn't it Tony? 

Update: The Independent is leading on

Andrea Parhamovich, a 28-year-old political adviser from Ohio, was killed in Baghdad this week, in a possible attempted kidnapping.

 Ruth who?

Thursday
Jan182007

PJ

This is good - a three hour interview cum phone-in with PJ O'Rourke. Streaming video here. He's a much wiser and less wisecracking than I expected.

Wednesday
Jan172007

Sleeping quarters

One of my neighbours has applied for a tree preservation order. The council have said that it would not be possible to put one in place because they have no money left. "Try again in April", they said.

There's a bit of  pattern here isn't there, what with the NHS closing down in the first part of the year too? Now, I know someone who reckons that there is a bit more to it, and what actually happens is that the public sector all decamp somewhere sunny for the winter to spend all the bloated payrises that Blair has given them. It's not a view I subscribe to though.

If public sector closedown is going to be a feature of life in the future, we need a name for the time when it happens. The time when you don't want to get ill. The time when there's nobody there to help. When all the public servants are resting because they can no longer do their jobs. I think we should call it the sleeping quarter.

 

Wednesday
Jan172007

Brainwashing

It's something that worries me from time to time. My daughter comes back from school and starts telling me about what she's been doing. Very often it's along the lines of "I did the staff room compost" or "we learned about recycling". Even the teachers joke about it, telling us that they're sick of it too. In recent weeks we have had a "Fairtrade Fair" and there was a concert at which the parents were treated to the older children singing a little ditty about not giving in to greed and how we should all support Fairtrade.

Now, the Scotsman reports, every school in Scotland is to be provided with a copy of Al Gore's polemical film about global warming.

A GENERATION of environmental activists is set to emerge from Scotland's schools after it was agreed every pupil in the country will hear Al Gore's "powerful message" about the dangers of climate change.

The Scottish Executive announced yesterday - as the former US vice president flew in to Glasgow to address business people, environmentalists and others - that his documentary film An Inconvenient Truth would be shown to secondary school pupils.

Ross Finnie, the environment minister, said he felt the status of Mr Gore would ensure pupils listen to the message of the film, but was sure they would make their own minds up about it..

He dismissed any suggestion that the film was political propaganda, saying there was firm evidence of climate change and that anyone disputing it "has got to be on planet Mars".

It's utterly shameless of course. The objective is brainwashing, just as Mill predicted. I wonder if Ross Finnie has even heard of him.