Browsing the blog archives for May, 2008.

How to stop children smoking


The govt has got itself into another bansturbation frenzy in the name of protecting children from smoking and coming up with all sorts of control freakery idea:

Cigarette vending machines and packets of 10 could be outlawed under
government plans aimed at preventing children and young people smoking.

The plans, which include banning branding and logos, apply to England,
Wales and Northern Ireland. Similar plans have been unveiled in Scotland.

Of course these are well tested and proven idea, aren’t they?

Martin Dockrell, from the anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health
(Ash), said: “These sorts of measures are not going to have an overnight effect,
but we think they will over time.”

Well there’s a surprise, they’ve made the whole thing up and haven’t a shred of evidence that it will work. Its amazing what bollocks and claptrap these people are allowed to get away with “in the interests of children”. The sad thing is they seem to have defined all of us as children and taken the decision to appoint themselves as our guardians. Bastards.

If they really wanted to protect children the answers simple – make cigarettes widely available and stop treating them like forbidden fruits. Better still show them as being something only old people do, a bit like dancing at discos.

My parents smoked but that wasn’t why I smoked, it was because everyone said I shouldn’t and I wanted to stick 2 fingers up at them. We don’t smoke and the sprog does, despite all the publicity, for similar reasons.

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Going on hols, no blogging

no blogging

I’m off to Turkey on Monday for a weeks holiday, although it won’t be restful in the physical sense. As I’m easily bored we found Neilson Beach holidays* a few years ago and they are just the thing for me – I start the day with a water ski, then sail and finally a bike ride about 4pm. The evenings are better as it is like being at a dinner party with friends every night, the only problem is that nobody wants to be seen as a free loader so the wine flows a little too freely sometimes!

Despite all that I still manage to get some reading done. This year my summer reading is:

Vince Flynn, Protect & Defend – Good escapist nonsense of the Jack Bauer/24 variety.

Michael Ridpath, Se No Evil – e used to write good thrillers which had some educational stuff about how the City and finance work, but he has gone off the boil a bit

PS I might be squeezing a couple of more posts in today and tomorrow if I can find the time

*The first advertising on this blog and its free!
The Undercover Economist – A good friend and former fellow Director who now teaches business and economics at A Level swears by this book. I’ve picked it up a couple of times when staying with him and decided I need to read it

Freakonomics – Another god friend and former fellow Director is always banging on about this so again I thought its time to read it

Hayek, The road To Serfdom – Tim Worstall recommended this when I was chatting to him at the “Curbing the Crap Artists” event at the ASI

So, even if there was the ability to blog while I’m away I just won’t have time. I wish you all happy reading while I’m away and hope you find plenty of entertaining and educational blogs to read, and if you do, pass them on.

*The first advertising on this blog and its free. Still, I never expect to make money writing.

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Carbon Chastity

climate change

Every now and again I read something that I think yes, that’s exactly how I think, and wish I could express myself only half as well. Via Greenie Watch we find this excellent OpEd in the Washington post:

I’m not a global warming believer. I’m not a global warming denier. I’m a global warming agnostic who believes instinctively that it can’t be very good to pump lots of CO2into the atmosphere but is equally convinced that those who presume to know exactly where that leads are talking through their hats.

I started to become a skeptic when I realised all the great and the good had made up their minds and that anyone who challenged them was somehow deranged. I thought it was me but:

For a century, an ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous knowledge class — social planners, scientists, intellectuals, experts and their left-wing political allies — arrogated to themselves the right to rule either in the name of the oppressed working class (communism) or, in its more benign form, by virtue of their superior expertise in achieving the highest social progress by means of state planning (socialism).

Two decades ago, however, socialism and communism died rudely, then were buried forever by the empirical demonstration of the superiority of market capitalism everywhere from Thatcher’s England to Deng’s China, where just the partial abolition of socialism lifted more people out of poverty more rapidly than ever in human history.

Just as the ash heap of history beckoned, the intellectual left was handed the ultimate salvation: environmentalism. Now the experts will regulate your life not in the name of the proletariat or Fabian socialism but — even better — in the name of Earth itself.

Great summation of the arrogance of the Pollys, Monbiots and general Beeboids of this world; for it is their arrogance and closed minds that does the debate on AGW most harm. Their may well be a problem with CO2, but if there a problem is their cure worse than the decease?

But this is the real reason why they want the debate to be finished and their consensus accepted:

Only Monday, a British parliamentary committee proposed that every citizen be required to carry a carbon card that must be presented, under penalty of law, when buying gasoline, taking an airplane or using electricity. The card contains your yearly carbon ration to be drawn down with every purchase, every trip, every swipe.

There’s no greater social power than the power to ration. And, other than rationing food, there is no greater instrument of social control than rationing energy, the currency of just about everything one does and uses in an advanced society.

Its all about controlling the minutiae of our lives so that we only do the things of they approve.

Go and read the whole thing, it is very good.

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This is real citizenship

the way we live

As a parent I applaud this woman, she has made one of the hardest decisions you could expect any parent to make.

A mother has said she has no regrets about reporting her sons to the police after learning they had brutally attacked a man on a night out.

Carol Saldinack, 51, of Norfolk, said she was so ashamed of their behaviour she could barely look them in the eye.

But if she kept quiet, she would be as guilty as they were, she told the BBC.

We all want to believe that our children saints and if they do wrong its because they were misled by someone else’s children. It takes real strength of character to accept that, despite your best efforts, they have done something wrong. It takes even more strength, and yes even bravery* in this case because of the violence involved, to turn them in to the police to face a prison sentence.

*Bravery is a an over used word, especially in sporting contexts, which demean those who do make brave decisions, by which I mean taking a conscious decision to do something that may lead to injury or death.

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On this day

army, on this day

in 1656, the formation Grenadier Guards, the senior regiment of the British Army.

Judging by this* story:

The Army is facing a major shortfall in manpower after the latest figures released today showed that the number of troops leaving had increased by 50 per cent in the last year

it won’t be long before New Labour has decimated the Army to the point when even this august regiment will be disbanded.

Much as I disliked drill when I served I did enjoy a big parade, especially when it was my graduation or something similar and marching to this was always good fun

*I saw a headline today that said the situation hasn’t changed but I can’t find it online

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Social Tariff’s, the latest stupidity


The beeb’s business and news programmes were beside themselves with righteous indignation over the cost of energy this morning and demanding putting more people on Social Tariffs to alleviate “fuel poverty”

Regulator Ofgem hopes the measures will help alleviate the “fuel poverty” suffered by people on low incomes. But campaigners say the plans do not go far enough, and that poorer families will continue to face a fuel crisis.

I’m sure that times are very hard for the poor given the way prices are escalating, shit even I’m feeling it and I have a reasonable disposable income, but I really don’t think that it should be up to the energy suppliers to sort social problems. That’s what we have a Department for Work and Pensions for (formerly DSS), complete with Secretary of State, assortment of Minister and Lord knows how many civil servants complete with gold plated pensions to figure these things out with the treasury.

We are of course back to our old problem of the complicated benefits system which doesn’t deliver anything like the social security that is promised by the welfare state, despite consuming nearly half of GDP. In truth though the reason that they want the energy companies, i.e. their shareholders and other customers, to bear that problem. Is that there is no more money in the coffers and we are being bled dry by high taxes. Far easier to spread this round as another hidden tax which doesn’t appear in the headline figures.

Anyway, who decided that there is such a thing as fuel poverty and set the threshold?

The government estimates 2.5 million households are in fuel poverty – defined as when more than 10% of household income is spent on fuel bills – but watchdog Energywatch says the figure is more than four million.

Only 10% of household income for fuel to be defined as being poor and needing state help? That doesn’t seem very high to me and also doesn’t take in to account absolute values i.e. someone being wasteful by leaving lights and other appliances running for 24 hours a day – why should I pay for those too lazy to turn them off?

Furthermore, considering Maslow’s hierarchy of needs this is a Physiological need and at the very bottom of the pyramid so it isn’t unreasonable for it to consume a large part of income, along with food. I don’t know what a suitable figure should be, say food and heating 70% of income, but I don’t see why I should be subsidising people so they can afford to smoke, drink, take expensive holidays and buy the latest HD TV’s.

I also see another perverse and dangerous incentive here. Those living next to someone on a “social tariff” have been known in the past to run an extension lead next door to get cheap/free electricity. Will I then be expected to re-house both families and, given they are likely to be uninsured (which wouldn’t pay out even if they were) pay to replace all their goods and chattels, when their houses burn down in the inevitable fire? I suppose we’ll also be expected to cough up compensation if anyone is electrocuted.

So, all things considered this is the worst way to cure a problem brought on by the stupidity and incompetence of those who profess to be competent and capable of leading us through this mess. Bastards. Incompetent bastards at that.

And while I’m on the subject this lunacy is being proposed:

Most of the energy companies have so-called “social tariffs”, and ministers are proposing that data identifying poorer families could be shared with the companies to ensure they pay the cheaper rates. This could see information about who is on certain benefits shared with the suppliers, although new legislation would be needed to do this.

Given the Government’s track record of IT projects this really isn’t the way to sort it out. We can also look forward to paying compensation because people’s personal information is found in a skip or the internet as well.

Given these problems you would think that those claiming to be working in the best interests of those who are suffering would be outraged at this suggestion, but oh no:

Age Concern director general Gordon Lishman said that the sharing of data was “controversial, but justified”.

He added: “We feel strongly that the severe pressure of rapidly rising energy prices justifies this kind of action, providing the data is handled by a trusted third party and people are fully informed about the scheme and given the option to opt out.”

FFS they should be protecting us from the encroachment of the state not encouraging it! Next they’ll be saying ID cards are the solution.

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Strange leader at the Wales Open

Misleading headlines

Who wouldn’t be drawn to that headline? Sadly its a fairly boring story:

Scott Strange leads the star-studded Wales Open field on day one as the unknown Aussie showed the big-names how to tame the new Celtic Manor course.

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Yorkshire Vs Lancashire – Friends Provident Trophy

Cricket, Sport

Lancashire 68/8 – deep joy. We need a win to make the quarter finals but stuffing Lancs is far more enjoyable.

Update Lancashire 89 all out, this is getting better. Hogg went daft scoring 25 runs, lucky git. Now all we need to do is knoc them off before the weather closes in.

Update Yorkshire 34/0 but its raining. I don’t know what constitutes a match in this situation but as Derbyshire’s game was washed out we qualify anyway. I’d still like them to give Lancs a real stuffing

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On this day – Falklands

Falklands, on this day

British 2nd battalion, Parachute Regiment (2-Para), take Darwin and Goose Green in what was arguably the longest and toughest battle of the War.

We had sent a couple of guys down with a jammer to support the attack but they got bogged down and couldn’t get there in time. They also became of interest to an Argentine pilot but thankfully he missed and was chased away by a Harrier.

Meanwhile we had dropped in to a routine of sorts in San Carlos and weren’t being effective because we were in a basin and weren’t getting mush intercept traffic. Our boss was agitating for us to get forward but we didn’t have enough helicopters and was available was being used for ammunition distribution and casevac. Our plan was to get on a boat to the soon to infamous Teal Inlet.

One memory that still sticks is listening to a World Service discussion about the war. It had become well know that the Argentinian bombs weren’t exploding but we weren’t publishing I, however it was the discussion on the world service. One expert described what was happening – they were dropping the bombs too low and the screw that armed them wasn’t given enough time to engage the mechanism.

Being an expert this clown then went on to explain that the pilots needed to go higher, which was very dangerous, or sort of tilt up just as they dropped the bomb, so that it would be lobbed. This was inaccurate and finally they could put a parachute on the bomb to slow its descent. The Argentine Air force chose the latter option so we then had to live with more bombs exploding.

Isn’t it good to have such a neutral and informative national broadcaster?

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On this day

on this day

in 1679, Britain passed the Habeas Corpus Act which made it illegal to hold anyone in prison without a trial.

If we needed it then we definately need it now to protect us from the control freaks running the country.

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