I wondered if we were going to start seeing this

Catalytic converters are stolen because they contain precious metals – platinum, palladium and rhodium – which can be recycled. The AA says it has seen an increase in thefts since the beginning of the credit crunch in 2008, when prices for precious metals started spiralling.

The catalytic converter was stolen from Jane Green\’s Land Rover Freelander while it was standing in a car park near her workplace in Wolverhampton. She said: \”When I got back to my car, the police had left a note on the windscreen telling me not to turn the car on but to call them as soon as possible. I did and was told a witness had seen a man with a drill around my car.\”

Green\’s catalytic converter had been removed with a saw and drill, causing damage that cost £900 to repair.

I\’m a bit out of touch with the current value but it\’s certainly tens of pounds for the scrap value of something from a larger engined car. Decent set of powered shears and a couple of blokes could make off with a couple of hundred quid in an hour or two from a street or car park of more expensive cars.

I\’m just surprised that this is the first reference I\’ve seen to it of it actually happening.

See how statistical lies make the world a worse place?

So Mr Potato Head has been convinced by the lies.

The Prime Minister has ordered officials to develop a scheme in England to stop the sale of alcohol at below 40p to 50p a unit in shops and supermarkets.

Ministers could copy Scottish proposals, which would ban the sale of alcohol below 45p a unit, or bring in a more sophisticated system of taxes based on the number of alcohol units contained in the drink.

Those lies being:

Figures published earlier this month showed that twice as many people were being treated in hospital because of alcohol misuse compared with 10 years ago.

No, no they don\’t. The figures show twice as many admissions for diseases which are defined as being alcohol related. 0.3 of an admission for hypertensive disease, for example.

What we\’re not told (although it can be divined from the figures) is that a) total admissions have gone up by some 40-50%, b) the population is ageing so those diseases which are defined as alcohol related (ie, hypertensive diseases) will have more admissions and c) we\’ve got, as we all know, an \”obesity epidemic\”, meaning that admissions for obesity related diseases will also be up and, amazing though you may find it, many of the diseases that are \”alcohol related\” are also \”obesity related\”.

In other words the scumbag lying shits who compile the statistics are lying to us. Deliberately, through the method they use to compile the statistics.

Dr Sarah Wollaston, an MP on the Common’s health committee and a former GP, said that alcohol misuse was costing the nation £20 billion, or £800 for every family.

As we\’ve said around here many times, there\’s a problem with this number. That sure, there\’s a cost to booze, just like there\’s a cost to tofu. The question is, what\’s the benefit to put against that cost? With booze, the enjoyment offered must be higher than the amount spent on booze. That is, people are made happier by more than £50 billion because that\’s the sort of amount people spend on booze.

Oh, and the number that no one seems to want to acknowledge? Alcohol consumption is falling.

But those lies are out there, they\’ve been repeated enough that the fuckwits that rule us actually believe them.

We really are going to have to get around to hanging the cunts that lie so grievously, aren\’t we?

Doubtful really

The spies were then given a choice of betraying their Nazi leaders or facing the firing squad.

For hanging was the punishment at the time.

A firing squad is, when used, a military punishment, not one for civilian spies even in time of war.

Update: so, someone dares to contradict me in the comments, eh?

Yes, one was shot in the Tower.

All of the others were turned or hanged after civilian trials.

Yah Boo!

Erm, technical help?

What I want is to get the table on page 51 of this .pdf into a form that I can stick it in a blog post.

Cut and paste doesn\’t work, the formatting gets lost.

Printing to a .prn file does something I know not what.

So, err, how do I get Table 2 into a form that I can stick into blogging software?

Technologically ignorant middle aged man would like to meet geek……..


Excellent, OK, thanks, I have this now. And, err, with the near dozen versions I now have it appears that this blog is better than the Geek Squad…..


A glorious example of rule by fuckwits

Seven years after a statutory instrument updating nature regulations glided virtually unobserved through Westminster, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has this week admitted it \”unlawfully\” put a new crime on the statute books.

The unintended outcome of the rarely deployed Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 Amendment Regulations, Statutory Instrument (SI) 1487/2004, has been shot down by lawyers\’ persistent questioning.

Quincy Whitaker, a barrister at Doughty Street chambers, London, and Nigel Barnes, a solicitor at the Sunderland and Newcastle firm Ben Hoare Bell, realised that a parliamentary drafting error had accidentally removed a previous defence and laid in its place, cuckoo-like, a constitutionally impossible crime.

The regulations, meant to harmonise UK bird protection rules with EU laws, made illegal the possession of wild eggs collected from 1954-1981. Police and wildlife agencies used the new regulations to prosecute a number of people.

The change in the law was never the subject of public consultation, neither was it debated in parliament. The retrospective criminalisation of historic collections has caused museums, scientific research organisations and private collectors to the risk of prosecution.

Yup, through a statutory instrument they introduced a retrospective crime.

\”The House of Lords had specifically rejected the creation of the offence which the amendment regulations in fact created when the original act (the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981) was debated in parliament.

\”To create an offence that was contrary to the express will of parliament by delegated legislation without informing anyone that it has that effect is highly unconstitutional to say the least.\”

One that had previously been considered by Parliament and rejected.

And yes, this is how we are ruled now. By ignorant, vile, stupid and just plain incompetent clipboard wielders.

Hang them all I say, hang them all.

Absolutely spot on

A piece in The Guardian, of all newspapers, which just nails the point under discussion.

In August 1991, when Communist party hardliners tried to wrest back power, fear was the magic component they lacked. Some people got scared, to be sure – but enough did not. Radio journalists continued reporting on the coup and finding ways to broadcast even when their signal was repeatedly cut off and their offices were invaded by special forces. Print journalists from several newspapers that had been shut down got together to put out a joint publication they called the Common Newspaper. And ordinary people, including college students, professionals, and former army military men, flooded into the streets to protect the Moscow white house where Boris Yeltsin sat, personifying democracy.

Bernard Levin, the late great Bernard Levin, identified the exact moment when the whole edifice came tumbling down.

That crowd, around Boris, the hardliners had someone shout over the loudspeakers that the crowd was ordered to disperse. Or terrible things, they knew not what but they would be the terror of the Earth, would be done by the KGB.

And the crowd laughed.

Exeunt USSR.

O Tempora, O Mores….The Telegraph used to know things about colonies, Darkest Africa and that sort of stuff

Army foils coup attempt on tiny island of Guinea-Bissau

Err, Guinea-Bissau ain\’t an island folks.

Given recent history a failed coup there is hardly news (umm, well, maybe it\’s the failure that makes it so?) but to call it an island is pure ignorance.

Sure, it has islands as part of it, true, but then so do both France and Italy and we don\’t call them islands.

The actual article is OK, it\’s a wire report. Pretty much only the headline came from the Telegraph and that\’s the only part that is wrong.

Ho hum. The reactionary conservatives of the Telegraph of old may not have held particularly appealing attitudes towards the various flavours of BongoBongo land but they did at least know about them.

You know, Sao Tome and Principe, Africa, islands, used to be Portuguese, Cape Verde, Africa, islands, used to be P, Guinea Bissau, Africa, mainland, used to be P?

Americans won\’t believe this but…..

It is actually possible to fail your driving test in the UK.

I know, I know, hard to believe, isn\’t it? And I speak as someone who has twice taken a US test, once in Virginia, once in California (licences only last a few years, that\’s the reason for taking two, not that I failed one).

Where, in the first one, I was in an automatic, backed out of a nose to the wall parking space, got to the road and turned right. To the light, turn right, to the light, turn right, next light, right turn, and, would you believe it, right at the next light and right into the parking lot and parked nose against the wall.

And that was that, the whole practical test. No emergency stop, no left turn (recall, other side of the road, left is the difficult one), no parallel parking, certainly no reversing around a corner nor three point turn.

But here in Jolly England it\’s not quite that simple:

Nearly 300 would-be motorists took their driving test for the 10th time in the past year. Just 88 of them passed.

When it came to the 67 drivers who tried for the 12th time, 11 were successful. All eight people taking their 15th driving test failed.

The Driving Standards Agency’s figures for 2010-11 show that the traditional advice – “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” – does not ring true for some drivers. The pass rate falls the more times candidates sit their test.

It remained steady for the first three attempts, at between 46 to 47 per cent, before falling sharply. It stood at 44 per cent for the fourth attempt and 41 per cent at the fifth go. Just over a third of people taking their test for the sixth time were successful and for people who kept going it kept getting worse.

There was a 30 per cent pass rate at 10 attempts, 16 per cent at the 12th attempt and a 100 per cent failure rate at 15 attempts. Fourteen appeared to be a lucky number for some learner drivers, with a pass rate of 50 per cent.

As they say, there are some people who really just aren\’t cut out to drive cars.

It\’s all about the female GPs

The NHS is facing a chronic shortage of family doctors after official figures showed some GPs were responsible for 9,000 patients.

So that\’s the basic problem. And no, it\’s not all about the female GPs, but it is at least in part:

There are also concerns that the growing number of female GPs, many of whom work part-time because of family commitments, will lead to further shortfalls.

Two thirds of trainee GPs are women and research by the Royal College of Physicians has found that women GPs will outnumber their male colleagues by 2013.

Dr Sarah Wollaston, a Tory MP and former family doctor, said: “It creates all sorts of pressures as women take time out with family commitments. There is a real risk of a shortage.”

Obviously and clearly having (or soon to have) a majority female profession is going to change the working habits of that profession. Even just in our little blogging community we know of one female GP who is working part time as the kids reach towards 10 years old (ish).

We thus need to have rather more GPs than we used to given that so many of them are going to do this part time working thing.

Which leads to two rather interesting points.

The first being, should we really be paying female GPs the same as male? There\’s an argument that we shouldn\’t be. For it costs some £250,000 to train one, all paid by the NHS. In a 30 year career (few if any qualify before 30, 60 is not an unusual retirement age) we, having paid for that training, might get 15 years of full time and 15 years of part.

It thus costs us more to employ female GPs…..shouldn\’t they thus get lower wages per hour?

The second is, well, this was a bloody obvious outcome of the combination of moving to a female majority profession plus allowing part time working, career breaks and so on. So why do we actually have this problem? Isn\’t the NHS a beautifully State planned organisation? Don\’t we have caring and omniscient bureaucrats who manage the whole thing as an integrated system?  Isn\’t this, something that has developed slowly over the last couple of decades, something that such planning, such omniscience, should be able to deal with?

Or should we argue that, given that the planners obviously didn\’t see it for we do have this problem, the planners are fuckwits?

Or even, to be extreme and outrageous, argue that if the planners cannot deal with something so glaringly obvious, that planning itself isn\’t all it\’s cracked up to be?

How terribly amusing

We face the same challenge today – to develop a morally acceptable form of capitalism. As Keynes feared might happen, much business is now seen as no more than profiteering. Many people object to the bonus culture of the banking system because they don\’t believe those bonuses are earned. We have also learned that inequality not only undermines the legitimacy of capitalism (that was Keynes\’s concern) but it has corrosive effects: unequal societies are unhappier, less healthy, and have more crime.

So it\’s the lies that have been told about contemporary capitalism which lead to our having to change contemporary capitalism.

Bonuses are simply flexible wages, The Spirit Level is lies from start to finish (sorry, that should read \”carefully crafted yet inaccurate statistics\”). And yet because the populace believes these lies therefore we must change capitalism?

Wouldn\’t it be simpler to not lie about contemporary capitalism?

The falling labour share of income

We\’ve had the usual suspects over the past few months pointing to the falling share of labour income. That is, the portion of GDP which goes to labour is falling.

Clearly, this is terrible and shows that the bastard capitalists are just being too greedy.

Sadly, just another example of those usual suspect\’s ignorance of the numbers. One of the causes is actually this:

Barclays estimates that nearly 480,000 new businesses were created over the past year – a record – and said official statistics revealed that self-employment now stood at the highest level relative to the total working population for 75 years.


The latest official Labour Force Survey figures for October show a record 4,138,000 people were self-employed, up 4pc year on year. “It is the highest absolute number since records began,” said Dr Roberts.

For when we calculate the labour share of income we do not just look at wages and then assume that everything else is profits.

Actually (and from memory, so not in every detail) we have labour income, profits, employer paid taxes on labour (ie, employers\’ NI), subsidies, indirect taxes (like VAT) and \”mixed income\”.

If profits stayed static (which I do not claim they have over the decades) but employer NI rose then the labour share would fall. If subsidies rose, or VAT increased (which is most certainly has since the highest recorded labour share in the mid 70s, ie, when we introduced VAT) then the labour share would fall.

Which brings us to mixed income. It\’s always rather a problem in measuring the incomes of the selfemployed. It\’s actually a problem for the selfemployed and their advisors, let alone the statistical authorities. For some portion of their income is return from capital (they are running their own business and even the reputation is capital in a sense) and some portion is straight labour income. It\’s always rather difficult to unpick exactly what the portion is. So, we measure the incomes of the selfemployed as \”mixed income\”, not as part of either capital income (ie, profits) or labour income.

At the extreme, if we were all selfemployed then the labour share of income would be zero. At the not extreme, a rise in the number of selfemployed means a fall in the labour share of income.

We have a record number of selfemployed, we have a low labour share of income. Yes, the two are connected. No, I do not say that this is the entire cause: I do say it\’s some of it.

Err, yes, and?

The Trust points out that the existing document emphasises economic growth as a major driver for development. Although it mentions open spaces, sport and leisure as important factors to consider there is no mention of culture or the arts.

In a response to the Minister’s current plans it said: “An arts facility (for example, one supporting young people in productive cultural activities that deters them from crime) that does not fall easily into existing use classes or a theatre which is not statutory listed, could be demolished to make way for shops, offices and housing, leisure or sports facilities.”

So, if offices or housing are a better use of the land than a theatre then, because offices or housing are a better use of the land we\’d rather have offices or housing on the land rather than a theatre.

It\’s entirely possible that you personally, or you as a group, think that the theatre is worth more though: in which case buy it and prove it. Prove that you value the theatre more that is.

Of course, you could agitate to get the law changed so that your, not everyone else\’s, value system gets enshrined in legislation but to do so would be most naughty, a gross imposition of your wishes upon the rest of society. You know, greedy, vile, not nice at all.

Fixing a Guardian comment piece

Richard Gott*, writing in the Guardian this week, accepted that socilaism is a \”source of systemic instability, unfettered misery and industrial-scale oppression\” but blamed the problem on a small number of rogue leaders. The task, it seems, is to find the few rotten apples that somehow manage to bring an entire system into disrepute. The reliance on a minority scapegoat in order to cover over much wider spread illegality, immorality and abuse of power is a particularly favoured tacticamong socialists. Rogue leaders such as Joseph Stalin and the more recent Maoist renegade Pol Pot along with rogue communists like Enver Hoxa and Fidel Castro are, we are told, the fly in the otherwise uncontaminated ointment of socialism leading to true communism.

The figure of the rogue is an interesting one. It implies both a destructive and unpredictable tendency as well as a mischievous but likeable trait. We all know someone who is \”a bit of a rogue\”. In recent years the rogue has become associated with the \”rogue states\” of North Korea, Iraq and Iran: cut off from the herd they are prone, we are told, to wild, unpredictable destruction. But despite the appalling suffering endured by the people of North Korea, the late Kim Jong-il, enjoyed somewhat \”roguish\”, laughable status in the west. The rogue is at once likeable, forgivable, mischievous, dangerous, destructive and unpredictable. The ability to evoke this sense of the simultaneously forgivable and the dangerous is perhaps why the term has been so widely used of late. The mischievous goings-on of a few bad apples in the tabloid press that were easily forgiven at the time; those impish rogue states that won\’t let the weapons inspectors in; the pesky few leaders that make the odd error on the road to socialism.

In every case, the figure of the rogue is evoked to apportion blame and ask for forgiveness. It\’s always just one or two rogue individuals, states or institutions that emerge as the unique source of blame for an entire system\’s failure. The rogue is blamed but ultimately the system that produces it is forgiven.

When the figure of the rogue is evoked, it stops us asking more challenging questions. What if North Korea, Castro and Ceausescu were simply the product of decades of failed diplomacy and geopolitical negotiations that are more intent on the empire building of the US and the security of Europe than anything else? What if the rogueleaders in hte socialist states that caused the misery and oppression are simply the best, and most effective, examples of everything that is wrong with the left today; merely the product of a system that rewards greed and exploitation?

Let\’s hope that the rogue institutions of the left are not allowed to fulfil the promise of their epithet – for their transgressions to be forgiven and ignored. These rogues are products of greater forces at work. Let\’s stop treating them like inexplicable anomalies and start to understand the conditions that make them and their misdemeanours possible. Then, perhaps, we can do away with the figure of the mischievous but forgivable soclaist leader rogue altogether.




* Seumas Milne if it makes you feel better.

Timmy elsewhere

At the ASI.

CAPE TOWN. After 28 years of silently tolerating it, a group of unemployed local musicians have joined forces to release a Christmas single, entitled ‘Yes we do,’  in response to the Bob Geldof inspired Band Aid song, ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’…….

Speaking at the launch of the single, whose proceeds will go towards teaching discipline, literacy and contraception at British schools, composer and singer Boomtown Gundane said that for years he had been irked by Geldof’s assumption that hungry Africans were also stupid.