February 2005

28 February 2005
War is stupid - it would have been cheaper to have bought the slaves and to have set them free …link
New title

Or should that be new old title?  Anyway, I was never going to be without Croziervision for very long - it’s kinda catchy and I like it.  v3.0?  Well there have been one or two previous versions. 

Incidentally, I’ve also set it up so that www.croziervision.com is now the URL for the home page.  No need to update existing links, though - these will still work.

Welfare state turns children into junkies - Leo McKinstry on ADHD …link
More Labour dirty tricks - this time courtesy of a US import. What is wrong with these people? …link
Bring back DDT - says Johnathan Pearce …link
27 February 2005
Blair’s assault on civil liberties - James Hammerton has a partial list (which is quite frightening enough) …link
23 February 2005
Internment works

I see internment/house arrest/detention without trial is getting a bum rap.  Can’t say I like it that much either, but I am always mindful of one killer fact:

When you are confronted with a terrorist organisation that is able to hide itself amongst a distinct and separate community, you cannot hope to win without internment. This has been proved time and time again, in campaigns against the IRA in the 1940s and 1950s, in the Malaya Emergency and in Kenya.  It’s not the full story - you need a few other things like good intelligence and robust defence of your borders - but it is an essential part of the story.

When you ditch it (as we did in Ulster after 1972) you lose.

The bizarre thing is that people are kicking up a fuss now.  It’s not as if it’s a new thing.  It had been on the statute books for yonks.  I am pretty sure that it was only repealed shortly before 9/11. I don’t seem to remember finding it particularly repressive.

Why the blogosphere will help the Conservative Party

In a follow up on IDS’s Guardian article Brian suggests that the Blogosphere may well serve to expose the Conservative Party’s divisions and thus to undermine it’s hopes.  I don’t think so.  The reason I think this is because the right-wing Blogosphere in Britain is remarkably united.  There are very few issues upon which it disagrees.  Thus it is not going to be exposing any divisions.

So the Blogosphere’s not going to be a negative.  But will it be a postive?  I think yes.

The Blogosphere’s main job is to keep the MSM honest.  When that starts to happen Conservatives will get a better press.  When they get a better press they will feel less guilty about being Conservatives.  When they fell less guilty they will start to say what they believe.  As they do Conservative policies will become more, well, conservative.  And because they will be getting a better press they will also have a better chance of being elected.


State responsible for 40% of all aircraft delays - assuming I've read this right …link
Helen Szamuely is unwell - best wishes for a quick and full recovery, Helen …link
Land of the Free? (Part II)

After a tongue-lashing from Jackie, Tim Worstall comes to my rescue with the news that in the US florists are licenced and in California the state demands $800 just to set up a business - though California may be a special case.

Statism is bad everywhere.

Quote of the Day

The problem with the counterculture was that it was only - and literally - a counterculture. It knew what it was against (the existing culture), but not what it was for. Thirty-five years on the counterculture still doesn’t know. Against the war in Iraq ? Check. Against Saddam’s evil ? Check. What are you going to do short of war ? “I don’t know, but there must be another way”.

Laban Tall while commenting on that Hunter S Thompson bloke.

Marshall Plans don’t work - Africa has already received six of them …link
22 February 2005
529 Quangos - including one that exists to "promote potatoes". Good to know that your taxes are being well spent …link
“The Poll Tax’s beauty…” - never thought I'd see that particular combination of words in print …link
You can make a living out of blogging - which is going to make life interesting …link
Hunter S Thompson is dead - which is news to those of us who knew neither that he was alive nor who he was. Briffa marks the event in his own unique style …link
It’s Official - Scots are the UK's biggest whiners …link
21 February 2005

Further to the IDS thing, Norm Geras reckons its “user-neutral”.  I, for one, am quite happy to let him believe that.

Tim Worstall has started a BritBlog Roundup - in case you hadn't already heard …link
Councillors: they earn every penny

From An Englishman’s Castle

We even had a minor breakthrough in relations between the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties this morning when we joined forces in arguing against the use of a semi-colon in the phrase You Are Your City; Clean and Safe…

Fucking hell.

20 February 2005
TV Alert: Panorama, What has Tony done for the NHS? - this could be v.interesting. 10:15pm Sunday
Before you read any further, sit down and take a deep breath

The Guardian has printed something intelligent about blogs and Iain Duncan Smith is the byline.

Feeling better yet?  Guardian?  Iain Duncan Smith?  I know, I know.  Now while we can’t be sure that IDS wrote it we can be sure the Guardian published it.  Instapundit says so, so it must be true.

IDS reckons that blogs are going to change the way politics operates in the UK.  Who knows perhaps it will force politicians to stop taking the credit for the work of their poorly-paid minions.

UPDATE.  Brian thinks that while it may be good for the right it might not be good news for the Conservative Party.  And Guido has this:

The dead-tree-news medium is slow and lazy, the need to cozy up to political sources makes them unwilling to be as ferocious as they should be in a healthy democracy.

19 February 2005
Letter post to be opened up to competition - I'll believe it when I see it …link
Recycling is rubbish - old article but worth, er, recyling from time to time. Hat tip Blognor …link
If you live by the state you die by the state - Brian finds an example from Luvvieland …link
18 February 2005
“They sponge off private enterprise…” - Leith lays into the lettuce-lifting Latvians of Lincolnshire …link
“...off-the-record is dead” - Jackie has some thoughts on the Eason Jordan affair …link
Columbo Alert

Here’s a real treat for all you Columbo fans (eg me).  On Saturday, at 2:35pm Channel 5 is showing Prescription: Murder, the very first ever Peter Falk Columbo.  So, you thought Peter Falk was the only ever Columbo?  Not quite

This 1968 pilot was only one of many steps in bringing Link and Levinson’s dream to the small screen.  In all it took three pilots and 10 years to see the emergence (in 1971) of one of the most popular detective series ever.

Thinking of upgrading to broadband - as I am? The Technomeister surveys the market …link
Quote of the Day

David Farrer on airline compensation regulation:

Whenever I hear the word rights, I reach for my revolver

From Freedom and Whisky

Sod off Swampy! - Dom carefully considers both sides in the story of the Great IPE punch-up …link
17 February 2005
Boris backs Ken

I was going to write something on the Livingstone saga but (like rather a lot of people) I tied myself up in knots and, anyway, Boris Johnson does it much better.  While doing a pretty good job of pointing out that Ken didn’t say anything anti-semitic and condemning the subsequent outbreak of apologitis, unfortunately, he ends up getting very confused.  From what I can work out he is claiming that Blair wants Livingstone to apologise for Alistair Campbell’s (alleged) anti-semitism.  Hmm…

The seven basic myths - EU Referendum savages the FCO's propaganda …link
Quote of the Day

Helen Szamuely on Rod Liddle on celebs:

Mr Liddle is a little too liberal and generous for my tastes. He thinks that in a democracy celebrities “have as much right to get exercised by things as plumbers, traffic wardens and insurance loss-adjusters”. Don’t know about that.

From EU Referendum

Scientific consensus on climate change - it may be a consensus but it's not science …link
16 February 2005
Hockey = gay - say Emerald Bile. Makes you wonder what they think of rugby …link
Farrer on Scotland, negativity and the intelligentsia -  …link
Land of the Free?

Whilst I think the US and Europe share a common destiny, Jackie thinks that things are doing rather better in the US:

Until recently, I hadn’t been back in the US for about 2.5 years. But when I did return, I was awed and very appreciative of the attitude most Americans have to their rights. Whereas people here largely seem to have an “Oh well, what can do you?” resignation about these things, the Americans I know - of every political stripe - take a very strong “Screw you and the horse you rode in on, Big Brother” line.

Which almost had me going until a good friend told me today that in the US hairdressers have to be licenced.  A licence to crimp, so to speak.  Statism is pretty bad everywhere.

Jackie also asked me whether I would be tempted to emigrate.  I think if I were convinced that Britain was doomed and the US was not I would start to think about it.  For the time being we’re both doomed so the question doesn’t arise.

Fall in trade with EU - as % of GDP …link
German women are not being forced into prostitution - in the sense that there is no case of a particular woman being in this particular situation, although it is theoretically possible. Thanks to Tim Hall for pointing this out …link
15 February 2005
As threatened - we have a new(ish) design. Hope you like it …link
14 February 2005
US v UK healthcare

Excellent article by James Bartholomew in the Spectator comparing healthcare in Britain and the US.  He points out that:

  1. American healthcare is better than British healthcare
  2. America is not a free for all - state intervention is rife (eg ownership, regulation, subsidy, law suits)
  3. American healthcare is not perfect
  4. The imperfections are in large part due to the state intervention
Eastern Europe better off under communism? - er... actually... no …link
Steyn may be back…

...but that doesn’t mean he’s happy:

It’s an open question whether the West will survive this twilight struggle: Europe almost certainly won’t, America might; on the other hand, the psychosis to which much of the culture is in thrall may eventually reach a tipping point into mass civilizational suicide.

For what it’s worth, I think it’s both or none.  When Perry announced that he was leaving the UK for America, several commenters pointed out that the situation there was almost as bad as it is here.  Similar cultures give rise to similar debates and similar outcomes.  But I think we will turn ourselves around.  Bush’s re-election was a turning point.  And for that reason I am optimistic about Europe.

SteynOnline - (it rhymes don't you know?) is back …link
Libertarian girl - or Ukrainian mail-order bride? …link
13 February 2005
Why is the Eiffel Tower now uglier? - because they changed its appearance in order to bring it into copyright …link
Things that make you go hmm…

Justin Timberlake…made an appearance on a New York radio station and failed to finish the French toast he was served. The partially eaten toast sold on eBay for more than $3,100.

Via Marginal Revolution.

On listening to Paul Coulam I have never had the desire to go to a strip club - but Jackie has …link
The Hoppe Affair - academic speaks his mind and gets into trouble …link
Word of the Day - Fruitloopitude …link
Eason Jordan and the rise of the Blogosphere

For those unfamiliar with the Easongate, I am probably not the best person to go to for a summary but here goes:  Jordan was a CNN executive.  In a meeting in Davos, Switzerland he is alleged to have claimed that the US military was assassinating journalists.  There was a tape of his remarks.  He was alleged to have prevented that tape from being broadcast.  The blogosphere kicked up a fuss.  The MSM (mainstream media) did almost nothing.

And now he has resigned.


In Rathergate the MSM did take notice.  But in this case they didn’t.  And still the guy had to go.  How come?  I am flabbergasted.  The only explanation (that I can think of) is that the Blogosphere is so powerful these days that the MSM can no longer even protect one of its own.

But how is that?  It’s not as if blogs are that widely read.  Glenn Reynolds gets some 150,000 hits a day.  That’s about one out of every 2,000 Americans.  And he’s the biggest.  But he’s clearly punching way above his weight.  I can’t imagine the brahmins of the MSM particularly care or, indeed, know of his opinions.  But they are clearly acting on them.  The only thing I can imagine is that, in some way, opinions seep, partly via the internet, partly via word of mouth.


Democracy becoming conservative? - certainly blasts a hole in my thinking if it is …link
12 February 2005
Quote of the Day: the Establishment

Natalie finds new BBC fish to fry:

…the BBC describes its hero Judge Deed as “the judge who is not afraid to question the establishment.” Yawn. Who exactly is afraid to question the establishment these days?

From Biased BBC.  The really ludicrous thing is that the “Establishment” of Sixties legend died out years ago.

11 February 2005
Policing in the past - the Copper reads an account from one of his predecessors. …link
America, f*ck yeah! - the Social Affairs Unit reviews Team America: World Police …link
Despotism’s furthest shore - NRO review of new book on North Korea …link
Trial design

I’ve been having a go at re-jigging the design, the upshot of which you can see here.  The main aim has been to make the look of the site less “hideously white” as Greg Dyke might say.  I think it succeeds but I am open to other opinions.

Observant readers will also have noticed the addition of a small “#” to In Brief bar entries.  This is the permalink.  I’ve added it because it occurs to me that there might be occasions when I and others want to refer to it.

09 February 2005
Quote of the Day

You cannot stop someone from thinking something just because you make the symbols illegal.

From EU Serf

US to blame for Holocaust - according to a Franco-German TV programme (allegedly) …link
Can the lyrics of two well-known pop songs tell you all you need to know about state competence? - yes they can …link
France in World War II

Antoine Clarke comments on my French casualty factoid:

You forget the civilian casualties.

I don’t have the document to hand but I read that the French government (at the point of asking for an Armistice in 1940) estimated that there were 13 million refugees on the roads and railways of France. Anecdotal evidence (including from my relatives who were there) suggests that a very high proportion of the French population was fleeing German troops.

A look at the river crossings throughout north and western France will reveal a small plaque recording a company of French troops that stood their ground.

During the Normany landings in June 1944 more French civilians were killed than combattants on both sides (BEFORE Caen).

Right, Caen.  If I recall correctly, during Operation Goodwood (shortly after the landings) we bombed the crap out of the place and killed 10,000 civilians.

13 million on the roads.  Again, if I recall correctly, France’s population in 1940 wasn’t that high, 40m perhaps.  So, that gives us a third of the population on the move.  Phew.

The reason I quoted the statistic in the first place was to make the point that the French have not always been the weenies of the Western world.  No, in 1940 (as in 1916) that title was held by someone else.  Things can change, sometimes, really quite quickly.

Update. Seems I was slightly off on those Caen, numbers - only 5,000 died.  That’s all right then.  But bang on with the French population count.


08 February 2005
Emerald Bile

They’re not f*cking joking.  For instance:

Tennis is for c*nts, I hate tennis and I hate anyone who plays it. People who take tennis lessons are even bigger c*nts. And I hate the way they pick up the ball with their racket. Use your f*cking hands or I’ll chop the bastards off, then you will remember how much I hate you every time you try to wipe your arse.

Via Harry Hutton.

07 February 2005
There you are, all set to wreck a Gatso - and then someone beats you to it. Where's the justice in that? …link
You are twice as likely to be robbed in London as in New York - brilliant …link
How to solve crime - the Home Office way …link
Hatchet job on Kilroy -  …link
We’re all victims now - they even have them in Blognor …link
Asset stripping is good - because if it wasn't it wouldn't be profitable …link
05 February 2005
FA Cup Final on a Wednesday - how the mighty are fallen …link
We’ve had the shouting - now, for the kicking and screaming. Yes, the Normblog all time Bloggers' Top 100 is out …link
Jim Crow goes North? - Freedom and Whisky reports on some rum goings on over the road pricing vote …link
The Causes of the Great Depression

In response to my question about why things went pear-shaped so quickly after the departure of Calvin Coolidge, N (yup, that’s the name he gave) e-mails to tell me that it was all the fault of the Federal Reserve.  He also points me to Murray Rothbard’s America’s Great Depression.

Now as regular readers will know I am rather down on books, as far as I am concerned if it isn’t on the web it doesn’t exist (histories of WWI excepted, of course).  Fortunately it does exist and it’s right here (warning: big PDF).

In Googling I also came across this quote:

Old myths never die; they just keep showing up in college economics and political science textbooks.


04 February 2005
Noreena Hertz is stupid - aah, but you knew that …link
Yobs - only a passing phase - says Guardian. Laban begs to differ …link
Bush, Blair, Sharon - but President Castro, Chairman Arafat etc. Bias at the Beeb? Surely, not …link
03 February 2005
We have a new political party

VeritasGuido and Scott can’t make up their minds.  Helen thinks it’s lovely.

Fact of the Day

In the Second World War, France lost almost as many men as the US.


Spare a thought for the word “liberal”.  As Alex Singleton points out it is a term of abuse on both sides of the Atlantic.  What other word can claim that dubious distinction?  Alex reckons we should attempt to recapture it’s original meaning ie current French one.  I always feel a bit uneasy about that though.  According to Antoine (ie this one’s boyfriend) the original meaning of “liberal” was someone who was generous with his own money.  Only recently has it come to mean someone who is generous with other people’s money.

What’s wrong with Arsenal? - Scott Wickstein thinks he knows …link
Bobbies on the beat? - Oh, these naive fools. The Copper sets us straight. …link
North Korea about to collapse? - or is the reporter clutching at straws? (via A&L) …link
What went wrong with classical music? -  …link
02 February 2005
Disunited Germany

In an e-mail, Alan Little also wonders if Germany wouldn’t be better off splitting up:

having lived six years in Bavaria where we have 5-6% unemployment, compared to 25-30% in parts of the former East, it crosses my mind fm time to time that Bavaria could be a lot better off (absent any military threat from the north) throwing its lot in with Austria than with the Prussian rustbelt.

Especially if we could figure out a way to get the South Tirol back from Italy.

That’s without starting another European War, I presume.

“...sexual relationships are the only area where racism is acceptable.” - says Laban Tall. But for how long he wonders? …link
Environmentalism kills - or what happens when you stuff up the roads …link
Backstreet abortions worked - Maybe. But even so does it change anything? …link
Goodness - I've been Catallanched …link
Nationalism - Peter Cuthbertson has some thoughts on the German and British varieties …link
01 February 2005
Mary McAleese is wrong. - Squander Two lays into her "Prods = Nazis" claim …link
I'd love to cast the cop. Arnie, Clint, what about Gene Hackman reprising Popeye? …link
Julie’s been raped - third time this month. No forensic evidence. Full works police response …link
Quote of the day

From a comment on a Samizdata post:

” The business of the American people is business” .......Calvin Coolidge

I’m beginning to like this Coolidge guy.

Update 01/02/05 Alex links to a post he wrote earlier (when Alex?) which in turn links to a von Mises Blog biog.  But it leaves me with an uneasy feeling.  If Coolidge was so good how come things went so bad so quickly (October 1929) after he had gone (March 1929)?

More on the Labour posters thing

The Labour poster furore doesn’t seem to be going away.  William Rees-Mogg reckons it was intentional and calculated (via Guido).  Pollard (again) reckons that Jews have to be careful:

But it is critical that the accusation of anti-Semitism is used only in the clearest cut cases. Bandying it around when the evidence is weak is dangerously counter-productive. As the boy who cried wolf discovered, when it really matters, no one will listen.

Quite. But even he has reason to wonder.