October 2005

30 October 2005
No work today - Brian's found an addictive new game (even if he's lost his own site) …link
29 October 2005
‘Guns2Thugs’ website owner jailed over illegal imports - only one problem: he hasn't actually done anything wrong …link
25 October 2005
Being a propagandist while remaining solvent.  How it might be done.

Scott Burgess wants your money.  Blogging is taking up many a waking hour that could be spent on, yerno, earning a living. And he’s running a bit short.  So hallowed is the Daily Ablution in the Croziervision Blogroll that I may even resort to the extreme, nay rash, measure of brushing the cobwebs off my wallet and honouring Scott with a Stephenson or even a Nightingale.

Scott’s pledge drive illustrates a key dilemma in politics: whether to be an amateur or a professional.  As an amateur you can stay pure.  As a professional you can stay solvent.

For precisely that reason I prefer my propaganda to be produced by amateurs.  Professional propaganda, whether it bear the imprimatur or the British Broadcasting Corporation, Pravda or the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages inevitably serves the interests of its paymasters.

But (up until now) amateur propaganda has been difficult to do.  Researching the facts, thinking through the arguments, working at times when you’d rather be down the pub or asleep, is difficult and slow.  In comparision, the professionals hold all the aces.  See Brian’s The Tyranny of the Facts.

Up until now?  Well I hope so.  This is why I perservering with my Wiki.  At its heart is the idea of tens, if not hundreds, of like-minded souls each making their small, unpaid and gloriously amateur contributions to a greater whole: a store of arguments and counter-arguments that is constantly being kept up to date and can be employed at a moment’s notice.

It’s not there yet.  Who knows, maybe it never will be.  But if it is possible it’s worth keeping up with. 

And then maybe even Scott will be able to go out and get a job.

24 October 2005
John Keegan reviews General Rupert Smith’s The Utility of Force - this has been getting quite a lot of attention recently and I don't know what to make of it. The central idea is that modern armies aren't really all that powerful anymore. I suspect it's nonsense or, at least, only part of the story but I really don't know. …link
23 October 2005
Can you measure freedom?

I have run into a problem while writing my Wiki (yup, I’m still at it).  My central argument is that freer is better and this applies to the railways as much as anywhere else.

But “privatisation” has been worse than the nationalisation that preceded it.  As nothing can be less free than nationalisation ie complete control by the state, surely, this disproves my thesis?

It is by no means fatal.  I could take a step back and argue that freer is usually better.  But I would rather not. 

I could argue that if regulations are bad enough they can amount to a tyranny far worse even than nationalisation.  But how would I know?  It’s easy to tell after the fact.  If everything is great then things must have become freer and if they are even worse then they didn’t.  But that smacks of the sort of tricks communists get up to - praise the revolution up until the moment the bodies start floating down the river and then claim it was capitalism all along.  What you have to do is to be able tell beforehand.  But how do you measure freedom?

How to succeed without really trying -  …link
22 October 2005
Zero tolerance works - Scott Burgess exposes the "demographics reduce crime" myth …link
Trafalgar: why we fought

I received an e-mail today.  It read:

As is it is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar what about a piece on your Blogspot (Crozier Vision) about The Battle of Trafalgar and Admiral Lord Nelson????

A hero if there ever was one.

Normally, I would ignore such an attempt at blatant editorial interference but this e-mail happens to come from my boss and seeing as I would like to continue in my post as deputy dogsbody for just that little bit longer, I can’t.

But what is there to be said that hasn’t been said about Trafalgar?  It was a great victory and saved us from invasion.

Well, actually, there has been something missing from the coverage: the nature of the threat we were under.  After all, there are worse things than invasions.  Had I been a western German in 1945 I think I would have been rather glad to see the sight of Sherman tanks chewing up the asphalt.

When we contemplate the prospect of being invaded by Napoleonic France, we think that the worst that could have happened was that we might have forced to learn French or weigh apples in kilos.  But seeing as both of these things have come to pass, it doesn’t seem so bad.

But that wasn’t the worst that could have happened. Napoleon has, over the years, got a ridiculouly good press.  He was, in reality, the perfect and inevitable product of revolutionary France: a vicious, blood-soaked tyrant.

Our ancestors did well to fight and well to win.

21 October 2005
What the MSM wants the MSM gets

David Cameron smokes.  You may not have known that.  I only knew it because it was buried away in a rather unimportant profile piece about him in The Times.

Personally, it doesn’t bother me that he smokes - that would, after all, be rather hypocritical - but it might bother some.  Moreover, it might be made to bother some.  The MSM could, for instance, mention Cameron’s name over footage of him taking a few surreptitious puffs.  They could ask whether it would be appropriate for Britain to have a smoker as Prime Minister.  They could pose questions like: “Aren’t you encouraging children to smoke, Mr Cameron?”

But they haven’t and I don’t think they will.  Why?  Because I think the MSM has decided it wants Cameron as Conservative leader.  Not in the sense that they’ve been conspiring in smokeless rooms presided over by the MSM’s very own Doctor Evil.  No, more that the MSM have identified Cameron as one of their own and have decided to give him an easy ride.

19 October 2005
A few home improvements

As you can see if you’re using the old-fashioned technique of actually going to the site rather than have the site come to you via the magic of RSS, I have made some changes to the layout.  I have got rid of the In Brief column and integrated short items á la Instapundit into the main body.  I was beginning to feel that it squashed up the main column a bit too much.  Plus there were all sorts of technical niggles with such a non-standard approach.  The other big change is centering the blog on the page.  I’ve wanted to do this for a long time but it’s a rather time-consuming thing to do.  Anyway, the time has now been consumed.  And we have a new banner.  Hope you like it.  I do.  If you don’t like it, now might be the time to mention it - I’m in the mood for being all technical.

17 October 2005
Test - This is a test …link
02 October 2005
Doctor Who and the missing episodes.  Another state failure?

They found a couple of Doctor Who clips and the (Doctor Who) world goes nuts.

Found?  Yes.  The BBC wiped the original tapes, so it’s a big thing in the Doctor Who world when they find even clips (these ones seem to be no more than about 12 seconds in length).

Wiped them?  Why? It’s a long story and there is more than one version of it knocking about.  One involves simple incompetence.  Another involves a far more convoluted and elevated variety.

Further evidence that the state is useless, then?  Maybe.  But we should always bear in mind that commercial TV managed to wipe almost (if not all) of the first season of the Avengers.  Though, that was in the very early 1960s.  The Who episodes that the BBC wiped stretched from 1964, through to 1973.  We should also, perhaps, bear in mind that Doctor Who might not exist at all if it wasn’t for the nationalised broadcaster.

So, why the nuttiness?  Coz we care.  Actually, I don’t get all that excited.  It just serves to remind me of how sad and angry I am that the episodes were wiped in the first place.

So, they were really good then?  Ah.  Not necessarily.  The Power of the Daleks (from which these clips were taken) is a classic.  I think it is my absolute #1 favourite Who serial of all time.  It’s almost Shakespearean.  Actually, you can understand it, so in that respect it is rather better than Shakey.  But others, hmm, well…dodgy sets, dodgy accents, dodgy acting, dodgy scripts, dodgy sound.  Mind you, seeing as they were pumping out something like 48 episodes per year I think some leeway has to be given.  By comparison, this year’s series ran to a grand total of 13 episodes.

Hang about.  How come you know all about the Power of the Daleks if it has been wiped? Ah, through the wonders of reconstruction, string and sealing wax.

So, if they weren’t all that good, why are you so upset?  It’s because I trusted them.  It’s because all through the Seventies I thought: “One day, I will, if I choose, be able to see all the old episodes.  The good ol’ BBC is keeping good care of them just for me.  I am so glad we have a nationalised broadcaster.  Wouldn’t happen if we were all commercial like the Americans.”

Wrong, Crozier.  Wrong.