December 2007

Potassium Nitrate?


Yesterday the Israeli announced that the IDF and Shin Bet had found “6.5 tons of potassium nitrate hidden in sacks that were disguised as aid from the European Union”.

Potassium nitrate? Saltpetre? People are making explosives out of black gunpowder?

Sheesh, you\’d think they would have caught up with the IRA by now and be using ammonium nitrate and derv by now, wouldn\’t you?

Year End Lists

Some truth here Dizzy:

Harriet Harman – A bit like thrush which Canestan cream cannot get rid of.

And gues who?

Mark Thomas wannabe without the brains or wit.

Really Not a Surprise

Only a fifth of doctors believe that a national electronic system for storing patients’ records will be secure, a poll for The Times has shown.

More than three quarters are either “not confident” that data will be safe or “very worried” that data will leak once the £20 billion National Programme for IT (NPfIT) is running. Asked how well they thought that local NHS organisations would be able to maintain the privacy of data, only 4 per cent said very well. The majority, 57 per cent, said quite or very poorly.

The poll was carried out online over Christmas. In general, the GPs, who have the greater experience of IT systems, are more sceptical than the consultants.

As some hundreds of thousands of people will have access to such records the doubts over security seem logical enough, don\’t you think?

Well, Quite

Odd but encouraging to find a real liberal in The Guardian:

Here is the book you ought to read to fortify you for the further assault on our freedoms and civil liberties that lies ahead: Towards the Light by the philosopher AC Grayling. It is subtitled The Story of the Struggles for Liberty & Rights that Made the Modern West. Grayling vividly describes how the rights and freedoms liberal democracies take for granted were won at great cost in heroic suffering and death, over several centuries. Yet we\’re in danger of losing them, quickly and unnecessarily, in the name of public safety and administrative efficiency. He reminds us of Benjamin Franklin\’s saying: "He who would put security before liberty deserves neither," and ends with a passionate plea to "never give in to the thieves of our liberties … It is what we owe the dead who bought them for us with their lives, it is what we owe ourselves in our aspiration for good lives, and it is what we owe those whose lives are to come: the inestimable gift of liberty, and the security of inalienable rights."

What a Disgusting Little Fascist

And what about children? If the government is sincere about protecting those most vulnerable from second hand smoke, then why isn\’t a ban on smoking in all households containing children, at least being considered?

Ultimately, the ban enacted on July 1 should not be the end of the legislative process but the beginning. The months and years to come should witness a wealth of legislation enacted by the government leading towards one ultimate goal: the abolition of smoking, whether public or private, throughout the land, forever.

Could we please make sure that this Chris Hallam is jeered and mocked wherever he goes? What a disgusting little shit he is.

It\’s not just the impossibility of a ban, the creation of black markets, the loss of billions a year in revenue, the increased costs to the health and pension systems. It\’s the perfect illiberality of the proposal. That people should not be allowed to do as they wish simply because he doesn\’t want them to.

Not all that surprising


Home buyers in the South are paying more than three times as much stamp duty as those in the North of the country, new figures show.

An ad valorem tax is higher where prices are higher? Slap me with a wet kipper. You\’ll be saying that income tax revenues are higher in the South, where wages are higher, next.

It added that the amount of stamp duty now paid by residents in the South – which is made up of London, the South East, South West and the East – was equivalent to around 25 per cent of average annual earnings.

In the North it was only around 10 per cent of average pay.

And that shows the stupidity of the system in itself. We actually want to have labour force mobility. People moving to where the jobs are. And we\’re going to have a tax equal to 25% of annual wages on people making such a movement? Idiocy.

The Demon Booze

The number of alcohol-related hospital admissions has increased by almost a third in just two years as 24-hour drinking laws and the greater availability of cheap alcohol lead to increased consumption.

So people are doing as they wish, perhaps to their own detriment.

Based on data from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, these admissions cost the NHS almost £90,000 a day – or more than £32 million a year.

Given that revenues from booze duty are in the billions of pounds a year, people are paying for the external effects of their actions.

The problem is what? Free people are, after all, free to decide how they want to kill themselves, are they not?


Throughout history, regulation has tended to gain favor on the heels of free enterprise run amok.

Well, that\’s Naomi Klein\’s thesis fucked then, isn\’t it?

Criminalising Paid Sex

I hadn\’t realised that the idiot Dennis MacShane was involved with this idea to criminalise the purchase of sex.

They say there is no other way of dealing with this scale of misery, but before another law is rushed on to the statute book, with everyone involved feeling the warm glow of a ready solution, it is worth seeing whether the MacShane amendment will work and what sort of principles it is founded on.

As proposed, his amendment makes a distinction between buying and selling sex. While a man will not be able to buy sex in a designated area, it will not be illegal for a woman to sell sex, as long as she complies with the laws concerning the sex trade, chiefly soliciting. Also, it will not be illegal for a man to buy sex from another man or a woman to buy sex from a man, or a woman from a woman, though all these variants in the sex trade – some extremely rare, I grant you – will have to comply with the law in other respects.

So we must conclude that the government does not view the act of buying sex is wrong in principle. This is a shaky position to start from if we are about to introduce yet another criminal offence, because it will be clear to everyone that the exchange that takes place between a man and a woman and a man and a man is exactly the same. The same levels of revulsion, pleasure, release, exploitation, abuse, regret and despair may exist in both transactions, yet only in one will an offence be committed.

Now that I know he is involved it neatly explains why it\’s such a howlingly stupid idea. The man\’s never uttered a sensible word in his life, including the times he\’s used "and" "is" and "a".

Hilary Benn on Climate Change.

There\’s something slightly unfortunate about this:

The world now understands that climate change is not just an environmental problem. It\’s also a security, economic, political and migration problem. What are we going to do when people begin fighting not about politics, but about water? What will we do when people start arriving on our shores fleeing not political persecution, but environmental catastrophe? And what will we do when the countries to which we sell goods can\’t buy them any more because they are having to deal with rising sea levels or crop failure?

The current estimate for climate change refugees is some 200 million over the decades. That is, on a yearly basis, about the same as the current global rate of international migration (no, not the UK one, vastly inflated by intra EU movements). While it\’s something to think about it\’s not a major problem. Water has a simple solution. Allocate property rights and price it correctly. Where water does cause conflict (say, arguably, Darfur) it is because there are no clear rules on who owns access to what water there is. As happens with any commons, when demand for the resource outstrips the natural capacity then management of access must be instituted.

As to falling exports, that\’s inane: we\’ve known sincce 1817 that it is imports which are important, not exports.

The unfortunate thing about this is that the writer, Hilary Benn, is the Secretary of State for the Environment, our chief negotiator on issues to do with climate change, and he clearly has no clue as to what he is talking about.



Hoist and petard comes to mind.

The high-profile demonstration, intended to highlight the force\’s anger over its recent below-inflation, 1.9 per cent pay rise, is threatening to become a major political flashpoint in the new year. The police claim their preferred route for their march is set to be banned under archaic \’sessional orders\’, laws drawn up in the early 19th century to combat large-scale radical protests that threatened a disturbance of the peace.

The orders are renewed by Parliament each year and invoked by the Metropolitan Police if the force believes a protest will prevent MPs from going about their daily business. Critics of the orders claim they are a heavy-handed response designed to stifle peaceful protest.

I wonder how many of said demonstrating police have refused to impose such restrictions on others?

Spiralling Teenage Pregnancy Crisis.

Sex education initiatives are failing to control the spiralling teenage pregnancy crisis, ministers have admitted for the first time.

Sounds bad, eh? So, how much has the pregnancy rate risen?

The Government committed itself in 1999 to halving the teenage pregnancy rate among 16- and 17-year-olds by 2010, compared with 1998 figures.

However, by 2005 – the last year for which full figures are available – the rate fell by only 11.4 per cent. The same figures show that between 1999 and 2005 the overall number of 16- and 17-year-olds becoming pregnant increased from 39,247 to 39,804.

Err, the rate has fallen: what\’s risen is the number of teenagers.

This is a spiralling crisis?