Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Why didn't Ian Hislop blow the gaffe before? For all his moral judginess, Hislop was reportedly chosen as a safe pair of hands by those who had got to the age where they needed Private Eye to be their pension fund. In his heyday, Ingrams would have gone for the story and blow the consequences. By the way, how many people were interviewed for the PE editorship when Ingrams stood down? Can't wait for an in-depth on that story.
Still, prudence is the better part of valour. The former editor of Spiked magazine met with a fatal accident in Cyprus shortly after an edition of his publication that included explosive allegations about a then Tory cabinet minister's private activities in a North African hotel.
Mind how you go.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Is there a legitimate government at all? If so, why has 40% of its ground forces been destroyed? If not, why has the situation not been resolved in 40 years?
How do we decide who should rule? Does any outsider have the right to decide?
Who(m) are we "helping"? In what way are they "better"? What will they do if they win?
At what point does the destruction of the "government's" forces constitute an attempt at "regime change"? Is this legitimate, or not (there seems to have been considerable wobbling about this in HM Government recently)?
Is this whole thing like Italy's (Mussolini's) campaign in Ethiopia in the 1930s?
Should the UK have declared war on Mussolini as soon as we perceived that he was a ruthless dictator?
What happens if we stop now?
What happens if we don't stop?
How do other African and Arab nations view our actions?
Is this going to imperil us at home?
How did these Arab rebellions really start? Did Western secret services have anything to do with it?
When will we get some in-depth, non-partisan discussion on the mainstream media about these issues?
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Then if you can stand it, read Matt Taibbi's article about how nobody important on Wall Street is going to get prosecuted for the misdeeds that blew up the Global Financial Crisis.
This can't be happening.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
... but the British system is full of idiosyncrasies. A constituency in the Western Isles, or Northern Ireland, or one of the industrial blightlands, is not going to have the same characteristics as one in Hampshire, Slough or Greater London. And apathy can be confused with despair: in a rock-solid safe seat, those who would vote against the incumbent if they had a chance of unseating him/her, may simply not bother to vote at all.
Why not insist that everone must vote - perhaps adding the option "none of the above" to the ballot form?
Australia has a system of compulsory and enforced participation in General Elections, and so does Singapore; among European countries where it is compulsory but not strictly enforced, are Belgium and (for Senate elections) France.
South America (which I think will have a very interesting and possibly bright history over the next century) has many countries where voters must take part. Using the information here, I give below a map of them:Let's start with AV, and if that doesn't winkle the people out of their sofas, let's go where so many other countries have led the way. Who knows, we may one day have a democracy.
Monday, April 11, 2011
This evening I saw the political broadcast for the "No" vote and I think I've rarely seen anything so untrue and misleading.
First we got candidate Alan B'Stard promising everything to get in, then forming a coalition and welching on all the manifesto promises. Ans: No, that is what we got under the present system.
Then we saw a horse race where the third placed was declared the winner. Ans: No, under AV the victor IS ALWAYS the first one past the post, the "winning post" being 50% of all ballots cast, if necessary by taking into account second and third (etc.) preferences.
As opposed to the present system, where the last Labour government got a clear majority of 66 seats on the basis of a minority of the votes. In the 2005 General Election, out of 650 MPs, only 220 won 50% or more of the votes cast in their own constituency (see "Election results for Using and Applying statistics" here.) In over 66% of Parliamentary constituencies, all the horses failed to finish!
Working the figures the same way for the 2010 General Election, only 217 out of 650 MPs jockeyed their way past the post. That's almost exactly the same situation as in 2005; we have a coalition government only because of disillusioned and mistrustful voters switching between parties - using the current voting system.
In 2005, Labour got 35.7% (the largest proportion) of the total national vote; in 2010, the Conservatives got 36.5% (the largest proportion) of the total national vote. The mess we have is, I repeat, under the current voting system and is a result of political breakdown, not (directly) owing to a glitch in the psephological mechanism.
Some might say, why change the system, then?
I'd answer, the breakdown of the relationship between the representatives and the people is (to a significant degree) attributable to an unrepresentative system of voting, one which encourages a party political divide because MPs in "safe" seats needn't bother listening. For 20 years I had no member of any of the major political parties even ask for my vote, because however I voted, I was going to get the Labour stooge. When the constituency boundaries were altered for 2010, suddenly I had both Labour and LibDem candidates on my doorstep.
Needn't bother listening? Needn't bother working, either, in many cases: how is it possible for "hard-working" MPs to write novels, handle handfuls of directorships etc, if not for the cosy calculus of "pairing" and the lazy delegation of most of the constituency work to constituency workers? I am reminded of the eighteenth century Caribbean plantation owners who lived in London and left all the responsibility to their estate managers and overseers.
Oh, and all that guff we're hearing about how very complex AV is? Bollards. Fifty years ago, housewives were completing similar questionnaires in newspaper ads, to win washing machines - "Put these advantages in order of personal preference: price, speed, capacity..."
No-one can foresee exactly how voting will change when all votes count, or at least half of them, anyway. The LibDems needn't assume that it will benefit them most, for if it does, the other parties will adopt a raft of me-too policies. No bad thing, perhaps, to make politicians work for a consensus.
And maybe, just maybe, we'd start to examine the candidates more carefully, rather than simply glance at their rosettes. No wonder there's such resistance to change from the spoiled heirs of the present arrangement. Just who IS funding the "No" propaganda?
Ah, but without (so-called) first-past-the-post we wouldn't have had Thatcher, say the Conservatives. Well, I think a general retrospective reassessment of her achievements is in order, seeing as how we've nearly killed our industrial base and allowed the financial sector to come out in a massive, choking algal bloom. But while we're reviewing her with the crystal hindsight of history, we can look again at the miserable record of the Socialist governments, too. The vaunted advantage of a government enabled to take bold action on the back of a Parliamentary majority founded on a minority of votes, is not such a strong argument, in my view.
And why should all be decided on red and green benches in the best clubs in London, anyway? We're long past the time when it took days to ride a horse to the capital and every provincial church told its own time; modern communications call into question the antiquated system of remote, unresponsive, not infrequently rather arrogant and sometimes downright corrupt representation.
When it really matters, the people can and will declare a clear opinion, even against the advice and guidance of their leaders, as witness Iceland's referendum on the bailout of the banks. More referendums, say I - provided the arguments to inform them aren't as lying and twisted as what I saw tonight.
Saturday, April 09, 2011
In came the old man who has spent £30,000 on National Lottery tickets since it started.
"You'd better not bend like that in front of me, or you'll get the Golden Rivet. Are you looking for your wallet?"
"A friend of mine once bent down for a penny, and broke his neck. Never bend down for anything less than fifty pee."
Sunday, April 03, 2011
It's clear from what he tells us that seizing the entire income and assets of "the rich" would cover the USA's expenses for only a year. Of itself, this does not exonerate those who benefitted hugely from skewing the economy. What he has shown is that the damage done to Humpty Dumpty is greater than all the king's horses and all the king's men can easily undo.
Eating the rich is revolutionary talk à la française and like Robespierre, Michael Moore might find he'd started a revolution that ate its own children. Reasserting the rule of law is another matter, and it would be part of the corrective process of justice to fine, jail or defenestrate from public office those who had the mens rea in this morass of criminal incompetence and wickedness. This is something for which Karl Denninger himself has often called. Right does not belong to the right, any more than to the left.
What a shame that Mr Whittle has forbidden all responses to his video. I suppose he would consider what I say to be merely part of his "predicted sewer backwash on the intertubes".
Saturday, April 02, 2011
"At first, Terry and Sylvia Jones split time between the Cologne and Gainesville churches. Then in 2008 they cut ties with the Cologne church after members accused the couple of financial improprieties connected with their side business, TS and Company, which is owned by Terry and Sylvia Jones. TS and Company sells vintage furniture on eBay and was supposed to help support the churches."