May 2007

30 May 2007

What should we think about immigration?  Whatever the answer may be, the West should make up its mind pronto - if Mark Steyn is to be believed things could get very nasty very quickly.

Let’s start with the existing system.  The UK is the one I know something about but I suspect it’s not that different from those elsewhere in the West.  If you are rich or European it is easy to live and work legally.  If you’re not it’s not.  Not that that stops people.  There have been few news stories that have given me pause for thought but the deaths of 58 illegal Chinese immigrants in the back of truck at Dover was one of them.  It made me wonder how many other trucks were getting through and marvel at the lengths people will go to live and work in this country.  Conclusion: you can’t stop ‘em.

But then again why should you?  Why should people be condemned to live in one place due to an accident of birth? 

What if, when it came to immigration laws, we just scrapped the lot?

Oh, but we’d be flooded.

What does that actually mean?  Lots of people would show up?  Yeah, I guess lots of people would show up.  So what?

Well they’d take all the jobs and they’d push up house prices and we’d all have to live in rabbit hutches and they’d demand free houses on the welfare state and exhaust the NHS and form ghettoes and vote in blocks and some of them would be terrorists and democracy would collapse.  It would be like what it is now but worse.

Well, lets deal with the easy stuff first.  I am a libertarian so in my ideal libertarian world there wouldn’t be any council housing, a welfare state or an NHS. So immigrants would not be able to sponge.  There wouldn’t be any planning either so housing supply would be able to keep up with demand.

The idea that there is only a fixed number of jobs sounds awfully similar to the fixed quantity of wealth fallacy - which I ought to write something about some day.  Suffice to say more people is better.

When it comes to ghettoes, I think there is a point here.  But then we have ghettoes already.  The assumption is that people want to stay.  But it is not true.  By and large people from the Third World - and just about everywhere else - want to earn money and leave.  Of course, they want to go back. They can build a house of their own - something much more luxurious than what they could afford here - and beer and fags are much cheaper and they are surrounded by people they understand.  And as for the weather…  The only reason they stay is, paradoxically, the immigration laws.  Immigration laws provide a massive incentive to stay because if you leave you lose your right to residency.  So you stay until you qualify for citizenship.  But then you want your children to have the same rights.  So, you stay for even longer.

There will be ghettoes - probably rather nice ones - because people of a similar ilk like to congregate together.  But my guess is that they’d be smaller than the ones we already have.

Terrorism.  This is another article that needs to get written.  But essentially, it will say that there is nothing particularly difficult about dealing with terrorism.  The old treason law had a lot going for it.

The final problem is the one to do with voting.  If the Welfare State is to be abolished then action has to be taken to ensure it doesn’t come back.  But on the other hand there is a hell of a close correlation between democracy and freedom.  The answer probably lies in either restricting the franchise to net tax payers or making the franchise tradeable.

29 May 2007
Sarkozy: some predictions

I’ve noticed that Nicolas Sarkozy’s election as President of France has been greeted in some quarters as little short of the second coming.  So, it might be just as well to put a dampener on that whole idea.  My guess is that Sarkozy will be good, but not that good. Here, based on my experiences of not-completely-awful politicians, are my predictions as to how his reign will pan out.

Having won the Assembly elections, almost the first thing he will do will be to provoke a confrontation with the unions and the left in general.  This he will win.  He knows that everything else he does will rest on overcoming this hurdle at the earliest possible opportunity.  Better to do it sooner rather than later - before his placemen forget who got them the job.

He will then make some mild reforms to France’s economy.  This will include a small reduction in taxes, and an easing of the 35-hour week, employment laws and state-employee pensions.  Unemployment will start to come down almost overnight and France’s economy will enjoy some impressive growth.

As for the banlieus he will make some efforts, but no more, to crack down on the current wave of violence.  It will subside but never entirely go away.

The reforms will then end, after which he will become an international statesman - which Britain’s (by then) weak political leadership isn’t going to like one little bit.  He is likely to foster a further deepening of the European Union along with a new, probably less verbose, constitution.  His relations with the US will have moments of frostiness but he will be, generally speaking, on side.  This will cause further difficulties for Britain, finding her stolid loyalty ignored while the US pursues France’s will-she, won’t-she promise.

25 May 2007
A dog by any other name

Guy Gibson was the leader of the Dam Busters, the raid to which Pajamas Media recently dedicated an article.  His dog was called “Nigger” as was the codeword used on the operation to indicate a successful bomb drop.  These are facts that Pajamas Media cannot bring itself to mention.

They’re not alone in such squeamishness.  According to Wikipedia, ITV edits the n-word out when it repeats the Dam Busters movie.

So Gibson was a racist then?  As it happens he probably was - most people were in those days.  But there are racists and there are racists.  He was after all risking his life to destroy the most violently racist regime ever known - risks that eventually got him killed.  There is a big difference between thinking that members of another race are inherently inferior - or just undesirable - and wishing their deaths.

But does his use of the n-word prove it - his racism, that is?  That’s where things get trickier.  You see I am not sure that at the time and the place it was an insult.  Take some British English uses from about the same period.  Agatha Christie’s 1939 novel Ten Little Niggers, for instance.  Or a little vignette I once picked up from a documentary on black American soldiers in England in World War Two.  They found that the natives at first and in all innocence referred to them as “niggers” - a usage that was dropped soon enough after the black servicemen let it be known that where they came from “nigger” was deeply offensive.  I have found other uses in which the term has a neutral meaning, in much the same way that black (in British English, that is) has today.  And I have found others where it implies pity but certainly not contempt.

According to Fowler, the afficionado of all things to do with English usage, writing in 1926, it could be an insult but only when applied to non-blacks.  (Thinks: would I be insulted if called Chinese?)

Another aspect I find interesting is that there is no white equivalent.  “Honky” just doesn’t cut it.  Oh, I guess if I was being called “honky” half-a-dozen times a day in clearly hostile manner it might get to me.  But ordinarily…

I wonder why that is?  Is it because blacks allow it to be an insult?  Is a reaction to this behind the naming of the band Niggaz with Attitude and the Samuel L Jackson character’s extraordinarily frequent use of the word in Jackie Brown - a bit like the way veterans of the BEF referred to themselves as the “Old Contemptibles”?

18 May 2007
In which my words get read by 200,000 people

So, I put up a comment on Samizdata, which gets picked up and made into their Quote of the Day, which in turn gets picked up by Sir Instapundit himself.  Bingo, 200,000 readers*. Sure as hell beats toiling away in this blogospherical backwater.

Many thanks to Johnathan, Samizdata Illuminatus and Glenn.

*Estimate based on Instapundit’s Sitemeter stats and my very own fudge factor.

10 May 2007
TV Alert - Theatre of Blood

Yup, the greatest film ever returns to our screens.  Starring Vincent Price and Diana Rigg at her pre-flying buttress finest.  Jack Hawkins stars in his last ever role.  Non-speaking but then that’s what happens when you have your voice box removed.  And Eric Sykes’s part is simply smashing.

Brilliant despite being partly scripted by William Shakespeare.  Though his bits do feature some cuts.  Quite a lot actually.  Hence the title of the film.

Theatre of Blood, 1.20am, Saturday 12 May, BBC1.

04 May 2007
Wormholes and womance

Should film-makers try to combine chick flicks with sci-fi?  Let Noreen be your guide:

Why fuck about with something that works? Jesus Christ, those Hollywood cunts! No, twice recently, I have bought a film with a picture of two middle-aged people nuzzling each other on the front, the woman looking slightly sad. And I have put the thing on, and it starts off all normal - people going around, the woman a bit scatty or worthy, the man a bit of an old rake, then suddenly the reason they cannot be together is not a sensible reason like one of them having a husband, or a wife, no. It is because they are in different time dimensions - sometimes parallel universes, other times time warps…

...there is absolutely no such thing as a wormhole, and if there were there would be far better things to do with it than use it to get a ride. How about jumping ahead and finding out how to cure AIDS, or going back in time and telling Ghandhi he was a cunt…

I guess that’s probably a “no”.

02 May 2007
This is a public information film

The hidden dangers of threadbare clothing

(Hat-tip: Japan Probe)

01 May 2007
Does it matter if a blog post is on the wrong blog?

Some people don’t half hide their light under a bushel.  Under the title 1888: A More Than Mind Games Film and described by the producer as, “... a rough, experimental one at that.” we get this:


It’s only the first-ever film - all 18 frames of it.  Plus, as an extra special bonus, the similarly succinct second-ever film.  And they’re great.  Three-hour Hollywood blockbuster directors, take note.

Bearing in mind that the film itself has precious little to do with football and James Hamilton’s blog has precious little to do with anything else it does raise the question of whether it should be there at all.  Since the dawn of blogging I have accepted that, just as Ronseal does exactly what it says on the tin, blogs should do exactly what they say in the title and description.

But should they?  The blog EU Referendum never talks about the EU Referendum (not that there’s much of one to talk about) and not even that often about the EU.  But is it any worse for that?  Do I, as a reader, lose out?  Not as far as I can see.  I find their digressions fascinating.

Perhaps it’s time to propose Crozier’s Specialised Blogging Rule: while a specialised blog must start off specialised, it can branch out into any damn thing it likes once the author gets bored.