So I\’m reading all of these sex blogs and it occurs to me that none of them quite come up to the stardards of a Reformation nun:

I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron\’s point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it. The soul is satisfied now with nothing less than God. The pain is not bodily, but spiritual; though the body has its share in it. It is a caressing of love so sweet which now takes place between the soul and God, that I pray God of His goodness to make him experience it who may think that I am lying.


First They Came For the Fresh Milk….

You\’ll recall that yesterday Defra was found wanting us to all switch to UHT milk (rather, they were interested in forcing us away from fresh) in order to save the carbon emissions of chilling the current preferred fresh milk. Today, from Joanna Lumley:

or, more likely, increasing the number of meat-free meals and maybe substituting dairy milk and cream with equivalents made from soya beans or oats at some meals.

So not even that is acceptable, we all have to switch to soya milk. Oats? Never even heard of that.

Just one  thought….wouldn\’t we be burning down the rain forest to find the space for all those soya plants?

Giddens on Addiction

Scary stuff here:

Why is compulsive behaviour so common in modern society? It seems to be linked to lifestyle choice. We are freer now than 40 years ago to decide how to live our lives. Greater autonomy means the chance of more freedom. The other side of that freedom, however, is the risk of addiction. The rise of eating disorders coincided with the advent of supermarket development in the 1960s. Food became available without regard to season and in great variety, even to those with few resources.

The logical conclusion to that argument is that in order to beat addiction we should reduce freedom.

Perhaps a reminder that there\’s no worse addiction than the one to power over other people\’s lives.

Polly on the Reform Treaty

Hmm, looks like she\’s making that old mistake again:

The dysfunctional dominance of four newspaper groups, with four fanatical Europe-hating owners, will try to force a referendum.

Do media outlets create the opinions of their consumers or do they chase them? Is the Mail\’s immigrant lsbians building mosques will damage house prices something that Paul Dacre forces down everyone\’s throat or is he a masterly reader of the prejudices of Middle England (sad though it may be to think that that actually is hat motivates Middle England)?

As has been pointed out here many times before, the academic research seems to indicate the latter. Just as it is with almost all businesses: you find out what people want and then go and make it for them rather than make what you want and then force it people.

Only Margaret Thatcher, by demanding an exemption, allowed him to launch Sky on almost entirely US programming – against EU rules.

So if we had adhered to the EU rules there would be no Sky? Do we think that Sky is a positive or negative upon life? And thus whether those EY rules are a positive of a negative? Football would be wildly different if Sky did not exist, vastly poorer, for example. Consumer choice if wildly up as well: these are normally thought of as positives, aren\’t they?

We would join Switzerland and Norway on the outside, subject to EU laws on the single market but unable to influence them. That, of course, is what the Euro-crazies want.

Yup, exactly. That is indeed the minimum of what we want. Now the question becomes, why would that be a bad situation to be in? Can anyone provide rational arguments to bolster the view that this would be worse than the current situation? We\’d be free of CAP, of the CFP, of all of the federalising motions, we would have freedom of movement of capital, goods and labour across the marketplace: exactly what we\’ve always wanted anyway.

If desiring that makes me a Euro-crazy then please, sign me up.

Home Births

Oh yes, they\’re safe.

A baby who was born clinically dead has amazed doctors with his recovery.

Oscar Rose\’s heart stopped beating and his organs began to shut down, so his mother was given an emergency caesarean section. It took eight minutes for doctors to resuscitate Oscar, who then spent nine days in intensive care, with his family convinced that he would be brain damaged.

But he has made a full recovery and is back at home with mother, Lucy Allen, father, Stephen Rose, and stepsister Ella, 12.

Miss Allen, 38, said: "When we got into delivery, the midwife couldn\’t find a heartbeat. After that it all happened so fast.

"Suddenly, a dozen people were there and I went off on a trolley. The last thing I heard before they put me to sleep was that there was no heartbeat detected."

See, no need to have a baby in a hospital, no need to get involved in all that technology and patriarchal control. All you need is youself, the midwife and deep breathing.

The Nobel in Economics

So here\’s the announcement:

This year\’s Nobel Prize in economics goes to Leonid Hurwicz, Eric S. Maskin, and Roger B. Myerson.

Greg Mankiw then asks:

Eric is used to teach economic theory at Harvard and was a great teacher and colleague. If my recollection is correct, when he moved from Harvard to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, he bought the house Albert Einstein used to live in. I wonder if there are any other houses that can claim two Nobel laureates.

Err, any house that Linus Pauling lived in between 1962 and 1994?


This is what should happen.

If the Tories want a morally sound and hugely popular tax policy, they should scrap the whole thing and instead cut the taxes of the very poorest. As far as I’m concerned, it’s nothing short of obscene that workers on the minimum wage pay income tax at all, and then have to beg pitifully to be allowed some of it back – assuming they’re eligible, that they can understand the forms, and that they can get over the worry that an incompetent state machinery will pay them too much, and then send the bailiffs round.

Tax credits make their recipients suffer the highest marginal tax rates of any group in society. They show what happens when a man with no imagination and too much faith in his own intellect is allowed to design a policy. Most importantly, as far as the Tories go, they are a policy that has sticky Brown fingerprints all over them, and one that Labour could never disown.

The replacement should be a non-traditional tax cut, aimed squarely at those at the bottom of the workforce. If the Tories scrap the £15bn that tax credits cost, and can fire a further £35bn worth of Gordo’s army of useless numpties, they could afford to raise the personal income tax allowance to a whopping £15,000. If you\’re concerned that vital services would be devastated, just remember that no one really noticed when they were all hired, so it would be surprising if anyone noticed when they get fired. This cut would free those working a 48-hour week on the minimum wage – or up to £6 per hour – from paying any income tax at all.

Nothing could be more powerful, or more attractive. It would be the great symbol of the new Toryism. It would be a slap in the face for Labour’s pretence to be the party that looks after the poor. Every piece of syrup-brained interfering middle-class leftism of the last half-century, from inhuman council estates to ‘progressive’ schooling, has hit the poor hardest. It could be the start of the roll-back – if Cameron has more bottle than Brown.

Guess which political party already advocates this? UKIP.

Blog Action Day!

Yes, brought to you by the European Union, it\’s Blog Action Day. When we all blog on the one subject, the environment and how the EU can affect it. Most exciting, don\’t you think? TEBAF is with it, the Environment Commissioner will be having an internet chat this afternoon. So, what can we say about the environment and the EU?

Well, let\’s look at what they actually do. There\’s the insistence upon recycling rather than landfill. This leads to greater emissions of greenhouse gases, not fewer. For example, using a wormery to recycle garden waste creates NO2, while landfill creates methane. The overall effect of the two gases, in CO2 e terms, is the same. But we collect the methane and convert it to CO2, creating energy in the process. The NO2 just goes into the atmosphere. Thus a truly environmental program would landfill such waste, creating one 23 rd of the greenhouse gases than wormeries. And, yes, the EU does insist that we don\’t landfill such waste.

Then there\’s the biofuels program. One report says that such crops use more fossil fuels than they replace. Another that simply letting trees grow and burning fossil fuels would reduce emissions from the biofuels plan by 50% to 90%. Err, the EU insists upon 10% biofuels.

And what about EUTS? This is a cap and trade system, one in which the transerable rights are given away, not auctioned. The nett effect of this is that it works just like a carbon tax, but with a huge amount of corporate welfare thrown in.

And then there\’s the puerile idiocy of the Common Fisheries Policy and….well, make your own list.

So, with this track record, what can we say about the European Union and the environment? It\’s clear and obvious that the UK would be better off out of the system (that much is clear to suckling babes) but what is the best thing the European Union could do about the environment? Clearly, stop existing.

So there we have it, the simple and clear message to the European Union on this auspicious day of blogging for the environment.

Bugger off and die would you?

Economic Logic, not Illogic

Caitlin Moran:

Secondly, the definition of “Best Buy” needs to be radically changed. Except for a roof, or a Saab, it’s usually cheaper to buy a replacement than get something mended. Now, we all know that that is a fundamental economic illogic, one that is driving gigantic global environmental and humanitarian problems. Which? should be at the forefront of a campaign for there to be a guaranteed functioning lifetime for any electrical item. Manufacturers should be legally obliged to mend or upgrade the item within that time. The current system – whereby it’s cheaper to buy a new kettle shipped over from China than to get an old one repaired around the corner – is obscene. It’s an issue even more pressing than asbestos, raw sewage or the introduction of the duvet.

Err, no, this isn\’t obscene, it\’s not fundamental economic illogic. Actually, it\’s economic logic. What we actually want to have is one of two things (in fact both of them). We want the maximum of things we can have with our current technology and scarce resources: or we want all the things we want at the least consumption of those scarce resources. Same thing really. We want the greatest efficiency we can.

OK, if buying a new kettle rather than repairing an old one is cheaper, that\’s telling us that we\’re consuming fewer resources in doing so (yes, subject to the caveat that all externalities are included in the prices but the CO2 emissions in the new kettle won\’t change those relative prices much). So, it is both environmentally and economically rational to use the new kettle, as this marvellous information network we have, the price system working in free (ish) markets, is telling us that we are using fewer resources by doing so.

The resource we\’ll be using the least of of course is human time: the most precious resource of all and the one that almost all of us agree we don\’t have enough of in our all too short stays here.

The Planners Again, I\’m Afraid

Do what we think you ought to do, not what you think you ought to:

Officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have made a serious proposal that consumers switch to UHT (Ultra-High Temperature or Ultra-Heat Treated) milk to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It is part of a government strategy to ensure that some 90 per cent of milk on sale will not require refrigeration by 2020.

The paper states: “Retail and domestic refrigeration is an area with the potential for significant impact reduction. The milk chain should enhance the development, marketing and placement of UHT milk products.” It also states that existing choices for consumers (mainly fresh milk products) “mean that they may not demand milk that does not have to be refrigerated”.

That last is stating that the availability of fresh milk reduces sales of UHT milk. Well, yes, I suppose it does. They are substitutes, after all. The rather more chilling (sorry) implication is that the provision of fresh milk will be forcibly reduced against consumer desires.

The whole thing is an example of the shambles that is bound to result from allowing the planners to decide such matters. Whatever we do do about climate change (and yes, I know that some say nothing, indeed I sometimes say it myself, given the idiocy of what the politicians are already insisting upon), picking winners in this manner is absurd. What we\’re trying to do is reduce emissions at the least cost in the reduction of consumer utility. That means pricing carbon into products and then leaving consumers to make their own decisions. Not that some bureaucrat with a hard on for UHT gets to impose his vision on the rest of us.


Sir Jonny?

I, er, think not.

Jonny Wilkinson is on course to be voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year and receive a knighthood for his World Cup heroics, bookmakers predicted last night.

There\’s still, rightly or wrongly, a certain class based assumption behind such awards. Brain Ashton might get a KBE if they win but not a player. As Wilkinson is already an OBE he might, might, get upgraded to a CBE but the K before his retirement? I think not.

Scrapping Road Pricing

Well, I didn\’t think they would have the courage to do it even though it would be the economically rational thing to do:

Ministers are to perform a U-turn by shelving plans for a national road pricing scheme that would have cost motorists up to £1.30 a mile.

If you\’ve got a scarce resource then you want to charge people for using it. The charge should also be proportional to the usage. Fuel tax is a proxy, but not a very good one, as it doesn\’t account for the time and place of use: which is the congestion part that we really want to tackle.

In one of those little bits of serendipity, the new Oxford Entrance exams have been revealed. The first question is as follows:

Every motorist pays the same amount for road tax, regardless of how much they use the
roads: someone who covers as little as 1 000 miles pays the same as someone who
covers 20 000. This is unfair. Road tax should be scrapped and the money raised by an
increase in the tax on car fuel. Making this change would ensure that those who use the
roads more would pay more. This would not only be a fairer system, but could also bring
in more revenue.
Which of the following best illustrates the principle underlying the argument above?
A People should receive free medical treatment only if they cannot afford to pay
for it.
B People who travel to work every day by train should pay a lower fare than
those who travel only occasionally.
C People who earn more than double the average wage should be made to pay
much higher charges for dental treatment.
D Television channels should be paid for by subscription so that only those
people who watch them should be made to pay.
E Telephone charges should be higher for business customers than for
domestic customers because they are using the system only to make money.

Spooky, huh?