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Flatulent tosspottery

Please, do sod off

Benedict Cumberbatch has apologised after he used the term ‘coloured’ to describe black actors, admitting he had been “an idiot”.

The Sherlock actor had come under fire from anti-austerity campaigners after he used the controversial term when discussing the problems facing ambitious young actors in Britain.

He told the PBS talk show Tavis Smiley in the US: “I think as far as coloured actors go, it gets really different in the UK, and a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here [in the US] than in the UK, and that’s something that needs to change.

“Something’s gone wrong, we’re not representative enough in our culture of different races and that really does need to step up a pace.”

His overall message was applauded by the anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card. However the campaign condemned the actor’s use of the word “coloured” to refer to people from ethnic minorities.

The terminally aggrieved will always find something to complain about.

In my lifetime alone we’ve gone from Negro to coloured and or black to African American and what’s the latest one, people of colour? The particular phrase du jour used to describe melanin enhancement matters very little. Other than as a marker of whether you’re hip to the terminally aggrieved or not.


Mothers invited to a Scottish Government-backed breastfeeding conference were left angry and bemused after being told that they would not be allowed to breastfeed their babies.

Organisers for the event, titled “Shifting the Curve – Sharing the Challenge Breastfeeding Summit”, said it was “open to everyone who works with children and families” and aimed to “remove some of the barriers” about breastfeeding.

Yet when mothers asked if they could breastfeed their babies at next month’s conference at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium, they were told by officials that this would not be “appropriate”.



Blimey Seumas

He’s, err, actually saying that Venezuela is the way to go:

The big exception to the tide of inequality in recent years has been Latin America. Progressive governments across the region turned their back on a disastrous economic model, took back resources from corporate control and slashed inequality.

These people are insane

At Preston New Road, planners’ only objection appeared to be that a handful of nearby properties would experience night-time noise levels from drilling of 12.5 decibels (dB) above normal background levels – despite being within the limit set by Government of 42dB, similar to the hum produced by a typical fridge.

So, how bad is that?

The closest that a wind turbine is typically placed to a home is 300 meters or more. At that distance, a turbine will have a sound pressure level of 43 decibels. To put that in context, the average air conditioner can reach 50 decibels of noise, and most refrigerators run at around 40 decibels.

Seriously, they’ve rejected fracking because it is quieter than a wind turbine?


David Cameron wants to change the law to ensure that cigarettes are sold in plain packages from next year.

Jane Ellison, the public health minister, put new regulations before Parliament and said that MPs will be given a free vote on the issue ahead of the general election.

She said that plain packaging is a “proportionate and justified response” because of the health risks associated with smoking.

Just gross stupidity. It doesn’t fucking work.

Venezuela bans queueing

Governors in three Venezuelan states have banned overnight queuing amid huge and sometimes rowdy lines around shops across the scarcity-plagued country.

Shortages of basic consumer products from milk to toilet paper have worsened since a lull in distribution over the Christmas and New Year holidays, prompting many to wait from the early hours on foot – or in hammocks – before shops open.

The ubiquitous lines and frequent jostling for places when shop doors finally open are an embarrassment and irritation to Venezuelans across the political spectrum.

There have also been scattered protests and arrests.

“We are going to prohibit lines outside commercial establishments,” Falcon state governor Stella Lugo said late on Tuesday. “Security forces have been instructed.”

She joined two other governors, in the states of Bolivar and Yaracuy, who have announced the same measure in recent days.

Idiot socialism always ends the same way, doesn’t it?

Dear Mr Choudary

Just as one Englishman to another I thought I’d write you this little note to clear up the little misunderstanding that you seem to be labouring under. I hope you don’t mind my pointing this out, that’s something that we English tend not to do. We usually assume that everyone already gets and understands the rules that govern us all in common.

You’re quoted in this morning’s newspaper:

Radical preacher Anjem Choudray has criticised the magazine’s controversial cartoon front cover of the Prophet Mohammed as “an act of war” and warned there will be “repercussions”.

I’m sorry but this really isn’t an act of war. It’s called “free speech” and it’s something that we’re generally keen on. In fact, we English are so keen on this idea that we even extend the right to it to Frenchmen.

Get over it.


Tim Worstall

Well, yes, this does explain Russell Brand

There is an alternative, however. It is possible that Brand’s agenda, persona, and recent activity has been part of a meticulously crafted satirical commentary on personality cults, narcissism, the vacuity of politics, the ease of manipulating angry masses, the arbitrariness of ideology, hypocrisy, power, and everything that is degenerate about society, the media, celebrity, young people, and, especially, the radical left.

This theory would explain Brand’s shocking ignorance of history, political theory, economics, and current affairs. It would also account for his bizarre resurrection of Castro apologism, not to mention his flirtations with conspiracies. His cartoonish equation of the Age of Aquarius with progressive politics can be reinterpreted as a cutting remark about the vacuity of fashionable non-conformism and radicalism. And, his utilisation of attention, manufactured self-sacrifice, controversy, praise, and adulation for narcissistic supply, is actually making a mockery of everyone drawn into his media circus and wacky antics.

Deep satire. If only we could believe that his comic talent is that great.

On Russell Brand and tax abuse

But, not for the first time, Brand has left himself open to accusations of hypocrisy after it emerged the film company he set up is largely funded by City investors – including a former RBS banker.

Brand raised almost £1 million by issuing shares in Mayfair Film Partnership Ltd, the production company making his next film, a documentary called Brand which will explore his ideas on the redistribution of wealth.

At least 11 of the 21 main investors in the company are current or former employees of banks or other financial institutions, while a 12th is a pension fund.

They were all able to claim tax relief by offsetting the money they invested in the shares against their income tax, as part of a government scheme to attract investment in high risk start-up companies.

This is under the EIS and yes, the Lord High Tax Denouncer has indeed said that this is tax abuse.

This man is insane

I have been an activist for 70 years. I’ve organised unions, rent strikes, antiwar marches and anti-fascist blockades, and gone on international solidarity visits to socialist countries.

In recent years, I am proud to say, the Greater London Pensioners (of which group I am chair) have taken to the streets with UKUncut, Disabled People Against Cuts, Fuel Poverty Action, and even anti-fracking camps such as Reclaim the Power in Balcombe and Blackpool. Pensioners are part of the movement for justice and equality in the UK.

Living standards are approaching 1930s levels in the UK today.

That last sentence.

He’s a complete fucking nutter.

We can make all sorts of complicated arguments about inequality, relative poverty and so on but the claim that living standards are like the 30s is simply nonsense.

Entirely irrelevant Living Wage contract signed

This will no doubt be hailed as a great victory:

Power firm SSE has awarded what is thought to be Scotland’s largest living wage contract.

Hurrah! Hurrah! etc. So, the people in the phone cubicles are going to be well paid are they? The cleaners?

Ah, no, it’s going to be already highly paid engineers and contract workers who are:

The £460m contract, awarded by SSE networks business SHE Transmission, will apply to a new subsea electricity link being built by engineers ABB Ltd.

SSE said the contract for part of the Caithness to Moray Transmission Project would support at least 600 jobs.

All staff and contractors will be paid at least the living wage of £7.65 per hour, and £7.85 from April next year.

Anybody who thinks that workers on a subsea cable project are going to be affected by a minimum wage of £7.65 is mad, entirely mad. It’s difficult to be entirely categorical about this (they might have a person on staff to make the tea for example) but the probability of this changing the wages to be paid in any manner whatsoever are around and about zero.

This is a PR clause in the project contract, nothing else.

Revealed preferences, eh?

From Compass:

This year, spurred on by social media and the effects of the recession, a new wave of feminism is gathering strength at an impressive pace. Over 200,000 people have signed the No More Page 3 petition nationwide

Signing, at no cost, a petition. As against people who actually spend their own money to, amongst other things agreed, see the tits on a daily basis:

The Sun 2,213,659


The British do seem to be on the tits out for the lads side really, don’t they?

Oh do fuck off

Keen hunter Miss Constantine shared a picture of ten-year-old Cece proudly clutching a dead duck and with her face smeared with blood to mark her first kill.

The little girl is also shown holding guns and taking part in hunts in a series of photos dating back almost a year and published on her and her mother’s public Instagram profiles. The photographs are accompanied by captions such as ‘First duck’ and ‘No food left after Christmas. Cece off to save the day’.

But Miss Constantine has been condemned by animal rights campaigners, who claimed the pictures call into question her abilities as a mother and branded the decision to let a child hunt ‘depressing’, ‘irresponsible’ and ‘dangerous’.

The ability to hunt and forage for food is something that parents have been teaching their children since well before there was actually a human race. In fact, for some millions of years it’s been the primary duty of parents.

So someone teaches their child to hunt and or forage and this calls into question their abilities as a mother?

Puhleeeze, do fuck off.

And shouldn’t we be celebrating the fact that a daughter is being taught to hunt, not just to forage and gather?

Colin Hines is certainly an economic nationalist

Their present support for the free flow of people is undemocratic, as it ignores the wishes of the majority, increases pressure on overstretched public services and is deeply non internationalist. Look at how the rich countries of Europe have stolen a third of Romanian doctors and how the UK is scouring poorer countries for staff to prop up the underfunded NHS.

What they should be calling for is a more progressive Europe that would allow countries to limit cross border flows not just of people, but also of money goods and services. This would allow countries instead to prioritise the protection and rebuilding of local economies and so provide a secure future for its people.

This is not such a huge step since free trade critics amongst the left and the greens correctly identify the underlying cause of today’s economic, environmental and social malaise as economic globalisation.

Yet they have with no detailed ideas or programmes on how to tackle the entrenched worship of international competitiveness and export-led growth. Today’s open borders in the EU are the interconnected, joint battering rams of neoliberalism and unless all are tackled at once the powerful will continue to increase their grip on the world’s share of wealth.

Indeed it is the EU’s open market that is rarely recognised root cause of the present European crisis. It allowed for example German banks to lend to Greeks to import German cars they couldn’t afford, and then the national debts that resulted are being dealt with by taking money from pensioners and the less well-off.

Meanwhile, the flow of migration and the inability of countries to control their borders under the single market are increasing tensions across the continent.

And he’s also a socialist so that makes him a national socialist, doesn’t it?

And the thing is his actual proposals are indeed Fascist economics. As I’ve pointed out before. there’s not a fag paper between his proposals and the BNP’s election manifesto.

Oh joy

Russell Brand and Michael Winterbottom will unite for the political documentary The Emperor’s New Clothes, billed as an exposé of the social inequities which led to the financial crisis.

Winterbottom will direct a film that is expected to combine comedy, archive footage and interviews to show how “the people at the bottom are paying for the luxuries of those at the top”, according to backers StudioCanal. Brand will take the role of presenter-spectator, examining the crisis at financial centres in cities such as London and New York.

I suppose
it’ll be Johan Hari writing the script…..

On charity versus welfare

I am attacked:

Tim Worstall asks:

And what the fuck’s wrong with voluntary collective action rather than State enforced collective action?

Answer: charity presupposes a condition in which some people have stuff which they can do without, and some people lack stuff that they really need. This inequality (which, like all inequalities, is morally objectionable on the face of it) is only sustained by the actions of the capitalist state in enforcing property rights through its monopoly on the legitimate use of force. In a more just world, there would be no need for charity because you would not have a situation in which some people have, whilst others need.

That’s interesting. All inequality is immoral? That I have an IQ above my shoe size while Polly T might well not is immoral?

Aside from this obvious point, I honestly don’t see any moral difference between a spontaneous, voluntary urge to do good on the part of certain individuals, and a reflective, truly collective urge to do good as manifest in a legal requirement to provide support to those in need through the existing system of taxation and welfare.

And that’s even more interesting, isn’t it? There’s no moral difference between the actions of an individual unforced and the forced actions of the same individual? Forced by the monopoly on violence of the State?

And do note that we actually have good evidence that the taxation and welfare system is not in fact voluntary nor freely entered into. For there’s that what, £120 billion, tax gap we keep being told about. Pure and clear evidence that some to many people do not in fact agree with that State system. For by their actions they, at risk to their liberty, deliberately avoid it.