January 2010

31 January 2010
Delingpole wants a new Nuremburg - "Now suddenly it has all changed utterly. And you know what? I’m in no mood for being magnanimous in victory. I want the lying, cheating, fraudulent scientists prosecuted and fined or imprisoned." …link
30 January 2010
Guido Fawkes: Bigot

From Guido:

By all means stand Conservative and Unionist candidates, but a readiness to do a back room deal with what [ie unionists] remains a bigoted and sectarian political force is not something of which to be proud…

The Orangemen have played off the mainland parties for decades, trading their votes for favours…

First of all, it has nothing to do with religion.  It is an ethnic/national dispute. 

Secondly, I spent a year working for Unionists as a researcher.  If they were indeed a bunch of bigots (on either religious or ethnic lines) I think I would have noticed.  Mind you, bearing in mind the intimidation unionists have had to put up with over the years (and to the best of my knowledge still goes on albeit at a lower level), along with the fear of what might happen if Republicans ever got into a position of real power I think a certain amount of bigotry is excusable.  Guido’s, on the other hand, is not.

Thirdly, seeing as the year I spent as a Unionist researcher was the year the Major government lost its majority, then if the unionists were indeed adept at playing the parties off against one another, again, I think I would have noticed.  If memory serves the total haul from that year was an extra 200 tons of fish for Down fishermen.  During the hung parliament of the 1970s (again if memory serves) all the unionists got was an increase in the number of seats to bring Ulster in line with England (not even the over-representation of Wales and Scotland).

26 January 2010
“...whose name we can’t report for legal reasons.”

You know that rule about how the names of juvenile offenders can’t be reported?  Well, I thought I’d have a rootle around in old editions of The Times to see if I could find out when and why it was introduced.  The “when” was pretty straightforward: 1933 in the Children and Young Persons Act.  Actually, it seems that the press had ceased reporting names some time beforehand.  The last example I can find in The Times was about 1923.  But the “why”?  Beats me.  It seems there was absolutely no debate on the matter.  Certainly, no evidence of a problem to which it was supposed to be the solution.

List of things that are likely disappear if people stop believing in climate change

In no particular order:

  • Recycling bins, containers and collections
  • Car recycling laws
  • The ban on incandescent light bulbs (incidentally, I will say one good thing for energy-saving ones: they start off dark which is really good when your eyes need time to adjust)
  • Wind farms
  • High-speed rail schemes
  • Some of the fuel duty
  • The law that demands that energy info is displayed on white goods.  (That’s the law not the actual display which I suspect is actually quite useful)
  • Carbon trading
  • All those academics living high off the AGW hog
  • Toyota Piouses

Can anyone think of any others?

23 January 2010
Three cheers for the BBC

You got to like them when they come up with a scheme like this:


Which with any luck will get 60,000 rugby fans going to the wrong place.  What’s not to like?

21 January 2010
Why all the kerfuffle about Greece?

There’s some sort of EU commission into Greece’s finances.  Or is it the IMF?  Or both?  And Greek Prime Ministers and Finance Ministers keep getting interviewed on CNBC.  And the whole issue keeps making the number one slot on the financial news.  And there are ominous rumblings about Greece being chucked out of the Euro.  The sort of ominous rumblings that can turn into ominous realities really quickly in much the same way that that ominous and ludicrous rumbling about sterling leaving the ERM all those years ago turned out to be ominously and ludicrously prescient.

But the deficit is “only” 12.7% of GDP.  And it’s the overall debt level that matters.  When that gets up to 200% then you’re in trouble.  I don’t know where Greece is.  And apparently, neither do they - lots of dodgy statistics and off balance sheet accounting making things very foggy.

But, hey, who cares?  If Greece cannot finance her debts eventually no one will lend her money and she will simply have to stop spending the stuff.  Problem solved.

At least, you would have thought so.  I mean, at least I would have thought so.  But all this activity suggests that something’s up.

I wonder if the fear is that if Greece goes bust, the Italians, Spanish, Portuguese and Irish might start to think they’re next.  When that happens they might warm to the idea of the ECB printing money to pay off their debts (monetizing the debt as it is known) hence creating inflation.  And they might lobby for it.  If you’re German there’s a good chance you don’t want to pay for Greek pensions through inflation and perhaps you feel that now would be the best time to draw a line in the sand.

Thought:  this shows that the real purpose of central banks is to finance government debt.  In normal circumstances that is done by selling bonds.  In extreme circumstances that is done by printing money.

18 January 2010
Apologies for that rather cryptic posting. Let me try to explain.

It was written in response to the decision to ban Islam4UK.

And also the LA's condemnation of it, ie the decision.

I suppose the point is that if you are fighting a war, then the time for talking and debate is over. So banning organisations like this sounds sensible.

I suppose it begs the question why we (or should that be the state?) didn't ban pro-IRA propaganda during the Troubles.

13 January 2010
If you are at war with someone can you allow your enemy to propagandize for his cause even if he does so peacefully?