You don’t need to check the figures, we’ve double checked. Honest.

So, what do you do when you’re convinced that you’ve got the data to prove that global warming/cooling/climate change is real, and is caused by humans? You release it to the world; you shout it from the rooftops and you preach it from the highest hill. You have proved the theory, you have closed the argument: you’d tell everybody.

Or, in point of fact, you’d hide it, and get defensive if anybody asks for it.

We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.

Because, sir, the point of science is that it is checked, and that something is not considered proven until it has been peer reviewed. That’s how it works. And if it’s not being released, then you’d need to have a good reason for it, otherwise people are going to assume that you’re not releasing it because it doesn’t actually say what you say it does.

We’re waiting for that good reason, fella…

Manoeuvring the deck chairs

Isn’t it hilarious that the government are spending so much time and effort on a doomed project like the ID card? It’s never going to be taken up, but they’re still worrying about Norn Iron-ifying it.

People in NI who identify themselves as Irish will be issued with a different version of the ID card which the Government is planning to introduce.

The Home Office said the scheme must “recognise identity rights” as laid out in the Belfast Agreement.

That means Irish nationals living in NI will be issued with a “personal ID card” rather than a national ID card.

Have a wee read of that; to me it sounds like they think that people who in no way think of themselves as UK citizens will be so desperate to have a UK Identity Card that they’ll settle for one without any of the supposed benefits.

Wishful thinking much?

However, I think that it’s a wonderful new get out clause for those of us willing to forsake our UKish passports should an ID card become compulsorily linked to said passport. Well done, Mr Johnson. You (inadvertently) did a good thing. Your first in your current post, if I recall correctly…

Ooh, god

Once again an ex-cop has gone and said a stupid thing.

The government should review the Contempt of Court Act, the UK’s former top anti-terror police officer says.

Peter Clarke said the law, designed to ensure fair trials by limiting reporting of cases, made it harder for anti-terrorism police to do their jobs.

Once again, Mr Former Policeman: the role of the police is not to make laws. Nor is it to lobby for changes to the law. No, it is to deter the breaking of the laws that are there, and the discovery of those who have broken the law.

Anyway, in recent years the police haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory when it comes to being quiet front. Generally when there’s a terrorism arrest, the police release a lot of briefing materials saying that they’ve prevented a massive strike, that they’ve saved countless lives and that generally they’re fantastic. Generally, the person arrested is then cleared of all charges and the police have nothing to say.

So I don’t think that they need any more clearance to make their case until they manage to sort out making the case in a court of law. After that, we can talk.

And here’s where it all goes terribly wrong

Diplock trials made for a fair whack of dodgy justice over here over the years. They also spread a fair bit beyond their initial propose of dealing only with the worst terrorist offences, and they definitely lasted beyond their initial “emergency” concept, or the “temporary” status that they were given for the quarter century that they were (officially) about for.

In short, they were not really a good thing.

None the less, the rest of the UK as led by NuLabour decided that they were a good thing, that they should be spread nationwide, and that they should be occasionally used for things that had nothing to do with terrorism.

Lo and behold, it hath been begun.

The Court of Appeal has ruled that a criminal trial can take place at Crown Court without a jury for the first time in England and Wales.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, made legal history by agreeing to allow the trial to be heard by a judge alone.

It’s all coached in terms of protecting the poor jurors and ensuring justice. And you never know, in this single case that may make sense. But for all the other cases that will follow this precedent, will that hold? I’ll wager not. And lots of people will be denied the right not to be taken, imprisoned or deseized without first facing a jury of his peers.

Mark yesterday on your calendar folks; it’s the day another ancient freedom disappeared.

What’s a home run?

Someone asked me t’other day: what would be my perfect ending to the scandal about MP’s thieving from us?

And my answer is simple, but would take a while to kick in.

Step 1: A paper releases details of the freeloading being done at out expense, enlightening the public to the behaviour of those that we have chosen to represent us. Check

Step 2: The vast majority of the Commons lose their seat in the next election, as a result of local campaigns against their perceived corruption.

Step 3: We get a new lot of thieving bastards in, who say they’ll be different but none of use believe them.

Step 4: Details come out of the behaviour of the new lot.

Step 5: The vast majority of the Commons lose their seat in the next election, as a result of local and national campaigns against their perceived corruption.

Step 6: We get another lot, who say they’ll be different, and try to be. But, as is inevitable, they get corrupted by the system a little bit.

Step 7: Details come out of the behaviour of the new lot, who, while better than both previous lots, still think they can get away with some mild fucking of the electorate.

Step 8: The new lot get turfed out in the next election.

Step 9: The latest new lot arrive, and are terrified of claiming a single penny, and have to learn to live on their measly £60k.

So, a minimum of about three elections and half a decade before the dust would settle in my perfect world. But just think how much cheaper and less threatening government would be at the end of it…

A non-defence defence

All these parasitical bastards in Parliament who have been claiming for hundreds of thousands of pounds for things that should be paid for by their salary are all coming up with the same defence.

Geoff Hoon: He said officials told him it was within the rules and similar claims had been made by previous ministers.
Hazel Blears: A spokesman for Ms Blears said her claims were all within parliamentary rules and approved by the Fees Office.
Peter Mandelson: “The fact is that these allowances would not have been paid if they weren’t within the rules,”
Paul Murphy: All his claims were within the rules and “assiduously” checked by the authorities.

So they all use the excuse it was within the rules. Which is generally the defence used by politicians when they know that they’ve done something wrong and are looking for a technicality to get away with it.

Because for all that it is legal, it is also clearly wrong that “public servants” on over a hundred thousand pounds a year should be claiming from the public purse for their living expenses. And I hope that each and every one of them is beaten at the ballot box with it.

As for Mr Mandelson’s claim that it’s all a smear campaign, I think that he’s missing something. For a man so expert at smearing opponents, he’s made an elementary mistake.

To smear someone, you focus on the distasteful or you put them in with a distasteful group. These stories are merely pointing out the activities of our political masters, and putting them in a group with themselves. So he’s complaining that either they, or their activities, are in and of themselves distasteful.

I’d agree with that, but I didn’t expect to hear Peter Mandelson saying it…

Whose fault is it?

Oh dear. Young Gordon is still going round, blaming the current economic FUBAR on the evil banks, and the silly Americans. And he’s claiming that he rode to the rescue with the steps he took.

It would appear that he failed to do anything to stop the banks he ‘saved’ from doing the things that he claims caused the crisis.

From the BBC:

The Treasury has been criticised for allowing Northern Rock to lend £800m in risky mortgages for six months after it was propped up with taxpayers’ cash.

The National Audit Office report on the Treasury’s handling of the crisis found the bank was still giving mortgages of up to 125% in early 2008.

So, once HMG handed over a few billion quid to Northern Rock, a billion of it went straight out the front door in loans that were likely to be in massive difficulty almost immediately. Who the fuckedy fuck thought that was a good idea, eh?

Gordon Brown: burning your money with nothing to show for it, since 1997.

Not the real reason

Many small businesses are disappointed by what their money can buy in IT. They aim big, and then are often underwhelmed by how much can be done for them. However, they generally cut their losses, and settle for a slightly inferior product.

Many larger businesses are also disappointed by what IT can do for them. However, they tend to lower their expectations ahead of spending money, because experience has taught them this. They’ll then expand the budget to reach this lowered expectation.

However, really large organisations (like, say) governments do it a middle way. They have small business mindsets in that they believe the glossy brochures and think that a new system is the answer to [problem de jour]. But they have a big business mindset in that they won’t often give up until they have something approaching their initial targets.

The two are generally mutually exclusive. So it’s not even newsworthy these days for a government IT project to be massively over budget and/or late and/or inadequate. Things only reach the news when the budget is obscenely over the estimate: multiples of four or more would be needed.

Or it’ll make the news if the semi sensible thing is done, and losses are cut.

Plans for the £234m National Offender Management Information System system, known as C-NOMIS, began in 2004 with the aim of allowing the prison and probation services in England and Wales to follow offenders “end to end” through the criminal justice system.

However, by July 2007 the project was two years behind schedule and its estimated costs had soared to £690 million, the National Audit Office (NAO) report found.

See, that shouldn’t be too difficult. It’s essentially an asset-tracking system. But do you think that HMG treated it like that? Did they hell. They’ll have wanted bells and whistles on the bells and whistles; there’ll have been thousands of ‘stakeholders’ each wanting to have a bit of say in how it was to be run. And the consultants will habe looked at it, said YES and then climbed aboard the gravy train in the knowledge that the government won’t bitch too much when the price doubles or trebles.

And then when there’s an investigation into why things went belly up, they’ll fail to spot the main reason. And they’ll blame something else entirely.

And the it’ll happen again and again and again.

It’d be funny, if it wasn’t so damn expensive.

How to be depressed, part I

First off, watch The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas on a Saturday night, and come away wondering at how people can do that.

Then wake up on a Sunday to find that the same murdering, idiotic, lowlife cunts that we thought had disappeared were back at it.

And then, just to add idiocy to injury, you see our good ol’ political leaders falling back into the stupid mindsets that didn’t help in the eighties and nineties. You see Gerry Adams saying this is ‘counterproductive’, rather than an absolute wrong. You see Peter Robinson worrying about ‘those who hate the Union’, as opposed to those who will kill innocents in cold blood. You see Reg Empey and Mark Durkan talking in ways that don’t help.

In short, you see people acting as if this isn’t a giant leap backwards, but as if it’s the way it’s always been.

Fucks sake…

Get with the envy

Ooh, aren’t Sussex Police smart. They must read The Economist. Because over Christmas, said publication published a long and interesting article about Darwinism, which featured the following paragraph.

Conversely, the Darwinian explanation of continued support for socialism—in the teeth of evidence that it results in low economic growth—is that even though making the rich poorer would not make the poor richer in financial terms, it would change the hierarchy in ways that people at the bottom would like. When researchers ask people whether they would rather be relatively richer than their peers even if that means they are absolutely worse off, the answer is yes. (Would you rather earn $100,000 when all your friends earn $50,000, or $150,000 when everybody else earns $300,000?) The reason socialism does not work in practice is that this is not a question that most people ask themselves. What they ask is how to earn $300,000 when all around them people are earning $50,000.

Please note the bit in italics: it says that, at heart, a lot of people get rather miffed by the fact that others get more money than them. And that they’ll be as happy if said others get torn down as they would be if they themselves made more money.

And why do I think that Sussex police have been paying attention to this? Because of this scheme.

A police campaign targeting people living lavish lifestyles on the proceeds of crime and money laundering has begun in Sussex.

Crimestoppers and Sussex Police joined forces for the campaign called “Too Much Bling, Give Us a Ring”.

People are urged to report their suspicions about apparently wealthy people with no legitimate income.

In other words: if you think that people have too much money, tell the police.

Apparently having money is now grounds for suspicion.

Of this, I am not a fan…

The state of the world today

or “What Ed thinks is wrong with the world today”

Many years ago, in the dark days of (I think) 2003, a small and relatively unknown band called Snow Patrol wrote, performed and released a song called Run. And it was a very nice song; not massively powerful, and not spectacularly sung. It was without most of the angst and worrying psychotic meandering that have been in a lot of Snow Patrol’s other songs. It brought the band into the public perception, and it reached number 5 in the charts. It was the result of hard work, song writing skill, and promotional hard work.

In fact, it was good.

Fast forward to today. When some really annoying and dull bint with a very powerful voice sings the song once on a really annoying and somewhat pointless TV show, and it goes straight into the charts at number 1. It is no longer a nice song, being far too fiddly and far too ‘power ballad’. In fact, from being a song that I would make a point of listening to, it has now become one of the songs that make me switch the radio off. Very quickly. It is not the result of hard work, or song writing skill. It is not even the result of promotional hard work. It is the result of blind flocking by people.

In short, it is bad. And it is symptomatic of the downfall of civilization as we know it. Honest.

Dear Irish Folk:

When asked the last time, you did the right thing. Whatever your reasons, you did the right thing. As the only electorate offered any say at all in the ratification of the EU Constitution Lisbon Treaty, you stood up for everyone when you said NO.

However, in the eyes of the Irish government, the governments of the EU hard core and the self-appointed leaders of the EU, you did the wrong thing. And thusly they’re gonna ask you again, and then likely again and again until you give the answer that they want to hear.

Six months ago, you took the opportunity given to you in Bunreacht na hÉireann to manage your own self-government, and to prevent that right of self-determination being taken from you by Brussels.

So, when the time comes again, please do the right thing once more. When asked if you want to hand yet more power to Brussels, say no. When asked if you want to remove barriers to the EU making laws, when those barriers are the only thing holding back torrents of red-tape, say no. When asked if you want to join the ranks of countries bullied into signing, say no.

In short, when Brussels bullies Dublin into asking us all to sign up to a document that the fecking Taoiseach signed without reading or understanding, tell both of them to fuck off.

Please.

Alternate Realities

Quick question for you: in what world does Jacqui Smith live?

I only ask because of the strange stuff emerging from her mouth yesterday.

Jacqui Smith says public demand means people will be able to pre-register for an ID card within the next few months.

The cards will be available for all from 2012 but she said: “I regularly have people coming up to me and saying they don’t want to wait that long.”

REALLY?!?

Ms Smith, you must be very selective about who you surround yourself with. To keep bumping into the same 9% of the population so is a statistical miracle unless there’s some selective memory going on…

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure that I’ll say it again: I really don’t know know why the government is pushing ID cards so much just now. Yes, obviously there’s a nice statist benefit to tagging the entire population, but why now? ID cards are a few people are a little keen on, a few more people will put up with, a lot of people won’t like, and a dedicated core of people will say UP WITH THIS WE WILL NOT PUT.

You won’t get people out on the streets protesting for ID cards; you won’t get a whole hell of a lot of people wanting to be in on the first wave of card holders. But you will get many people who will follow the sterling example of Mr Reynolds. And they will say the following:

I refuse to carry any national ID card that is based around a national database and would rather go to prison than submit to this attack on my privacy and security. They will have to get my biometric data* by force and I will shred any ID card of this type that I am sent.

Luckily enough, I’ve already got me a passport for a foreign land, should I need it…

By the way, speaking of Jacqui Smith, I do so hope that they make a set of gloves with her prints on them. That way she’ll be a suspect for how ever many thousands of suspicious acts. Mwhahahahahahahaha.

No bias here

I think that I’ve been fairly subtle over the last months about who I’d want to win in the US election. And it’s obvious as to why: I want McCain to win because I’m too racist to want Obama to win.

It’s not that I don’t like his vacuous nature; it’s not that I don’t like the populism; it’s not my inbuilt distrust of cultish followers. Not, it’s racism.

At least, that’s the sort of thing that’s being implied by stories such as these.

The conventional wisdom, which I share, is that Barack Obama will win this election, perhaps by a healthy margin. But Democrats are nervous wrecks; they’re having nightmares that defeat will be snatched from the jaws of victory.

To add to their misery (and guard against complacency), here’s how that horror film could play out:

In the end, the problem was the LIVs. That’s short for “low-information voters”, the three-fifths of the electorate that shows up once every four years to vote for president but mostly hates politics.

Obama shifted New Mexico, Iowa and Nevada from red to blue. But there was a reason Virginia hadn’t gone Democratic since 1964. The transformation of the northern part of the state couldn’t overcome a huge McCain margin among whites farther south. They weren’t the racists of their parents’ generation, but they weren’t quite ready to vote for the unthinkable, either.

It’s turning into that same old story: people who say that they’re not voting for Obama are having to defend their opinions, because not to vote for him is becoming unthinkable. He’s young, good looking, progressive1 and hasn’t bothered with actually saying anything. His opponent dares not to be progressive, and thusly anyone who would vote for him is clearly not a smart person.

The first time I was aware of this sort of thing was the ’92 general election, when all those shy Tories voted one way in the voting booth and another in the exit polls. There’s a reverse sort of thing here as well – lots of posh middle class Catholics say that they’d never vote for Sinn Fein and yet the numbers look suspiciously like some of them do.

But this time round, it’s much much worse. Because it’s not just the traditional forward/backwards looking thing; nor is it a straight left right fight. This time it’s also being portrayed as a racism test: you’re either not racist, in which case if you’ve a brain you’ll vote for Obama, or you are racist, in which case you’ll vote for McCain.

Well, fuck that. I don’t like Obama, I don’t like his policies and I don’t like the way that the media worship his feet.

Against that, I don’t mind McCain. He’s got a record to examine, he’s got a few interesting ideas. And – showing my ignorance again here – I don’t mind Palin either. So, who do you think I’d vote for?

And I’m perfectly happy to say that. Even if it’s just me showing my ignorance and racism…


1 – Where ‘progressive’ means ‘very backwards looking indeed’, back before lots of facts got in the way of those lovely redistributive theories of economies and fairness…

If you’re going to talk shit, talk impressive shit

J.D: You, my friend, have just been story-topped!

If you’re trying to impress people in a new job, and at a time when it’s difficult for people in horse-shit to get press time when the grown-ups are busy with real things, there are a couple of options.

One, you could be sensible, realistic and get grounded in said new job. Then, once you know what you’re talking about, you could come out with a comprehensive and realistic strategy and/or target.

Or, two, you could do what Ed Milliband has done: the exact opposite.

The government has committed the UK to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by the middle of this century.

Climate Change and Energy Secretary Ed Miliband said the current 60% target would be replaced by a higher goal.

An 80% drop in carbon emissions? Perhaps by closing all power stations, stopping all personal transportation and outlawing electricity you’d have a hope of getting there. But, in this here real world, that isn’t going to happen. And Milliband the younger must know that. Of course, the 60% target was also horseshit, and he’d have known that. So he’s obviously just story-topping to get his gob in the papers, knowing that he’ll be long gone by the time anyone comes to judge. He’ll be able to point to his leadership early on, and then say that it’s not his fault that people couldn’t match up to his lofty targets.

But hey, maybe if everyone started using wind – like in the fabulous planned London Array, then those targets could be met.

The Array is expected to begin coming on line from 2012, and will provide as much as one thousandth of the UK’s present energy needs when it reaches full capacity. The government and the project’s backers prefer to say that it will generate “enough power for three-quarters of a million homes”.

They’d need to be very dark, cold homes full of smelly people wearing dirty clothes and eating their food raw. An average UK household uses 22,795 kilowatt hours a year as of 2001: thus 750,000 such homes would require more than 17,000 gigawatt-hours annually. But the Array will produce only 3,100 gigawatt-hours. (PDF, page 3. The old renewables fudge of only considering electricity consumption – and forgetting about the more significant gas or heating oil – has been used.)

So perhaps Mr Milliband has done his sums, and thinks that the target is obtainable. And, if that’s the case, he’s more than happy to send us all back into the dark ages to do it.

Brilliant.

And how would he recognise them?

According to Herr Uberfoolfurher, the markets need ‘morals’.

My simple question is this: how in the name of fuck would that conniving, duplicitous, amoral twat recognise a moral if it came up and smacked him in his jowly gob?

He told a dinner in London the government would do “whatever it takes” to see out the current crisis.

The “good economy” would help create the “good society”, Mr Brown added.

Anyone particularly want to live in a society that Gordon Brown thought was ‘good’? Where nobody questioned his judgement (or sanity), where nobody went out of the box at all, where every agent of the state could read everything about you?

Not me, at any rate…

They came first for the youngsters…

Then they came for the foreigners.

Anyone else think that this is nothing more than another step on the road to preparing the rest of us to be paraded like prize cattle before the state representative of their choice and prove to them that we’re not unworthy of bearing the proud label of “HOLDER OF GREAT UNITED KINGDOM CITIZIENSHIP BENEFIT CARD FOR MAKE GLORIOUS PARTY OF GOVERNMENT AND STATIST AGENDA”?

No? Thought not…

Doublespeak, nonsense and bullshit

I’m maybe a bit old fashioned, but any time that people start talking about deliberately not using specific words, I start thinking of book burnings, newspeak, censorship and indoctrination.

All of which I file under ‘bad’ in the great Ed list of things.

Even when it’s apparently well meaning sociologists proposing the bans.

I’ve known a few sociology students, and I’m fully aware that they’re often very smart and well intentioned. It’s just that I’ve found that their grand theories often get me very annoyed, and have massive holes in them. I was often to be found trying one line putdowns to their brilliant, world improving plans.

“Yeah, that’s compulsory deseizing of property you’re talking about, based on someone’s political beliefs. Not a good idea.”
“Ah, eugenics. Great idea, it’s a wonder that it’s never been tried before.”
“Well yes, the hug will be appreciated, it makes it easier for them to get you into arms reach for the stabbing.”
“I see your point, but it’s rather based on the assumption that they’d use this free soap. Considering that you don’t, I don’t see why they would.”

Good times.

Much the same sort of reaction bubbled back to the surface upon reading this Telegraph article.

Publishers and universities are outlawing dozens of seemingly innocuous words in case they cause offence.

Banned phrases on the list, which was originally drawn up by sociologists, include Old Masters, which has been used for centuries to refer to great painters – almost all of whom were in fact male.

It is claimed that the term discriminates against women and should be replaced by “classic artists”.

The list of banned words was written by the British Sociological Association, whose members include dozens of professors, lecturers and researchers.

The list of allegedly racist words includes immigrants, developing nations and black, while so-called “disablist” terms include patient, the elderly and special needs.

“Ah, newspeak. If only there was a seminal an outstanding work by an exceptional author fully exploring the methods of such a thing, and the limits it imposed upon the population. Why, it might even touch upon the opportunities for abuse by a self appointed elite…”

In short: not a good idea. Move on.

I got nothing

It was not a great many years ago that I went for a proper summer camp every year. I’d think nothing of a sleeping 8 to a tent, when each of the eight smelled rank and snored, getting up at dawn, doing some daft strenuous activity and then going to be late.

This actually counted as a nice holiday, and despite the general odour and need to shit in an actual bucket it was more relaxing than many other holidays I’ve been on. Unless we, as a troop, discovered a nearby electric fence, in which case things always became a little more exciting.

So, please explain to my why three nights in a field, getting no less sleep, having nicer facilities, doing less and sharing with someone who neither smells rank nor snores, has knocked me sideways. Seriously, I’ve been sleeping in beds for three nights now, and I’ve not properly recovered.

If I had recovered, I’m fairly sure that I’d have been pissed off by thought police, or making quips about checking the people standing downwind scoffing munchies, or bitching about how the Channel 4 V-festival coverage was rendered unwatchable by the inane people that are paid to present Channel 4 coverage of such events.

Instead, I’ve been watching a few DVDs, nattering a bit and generally going meh to most things.

Dear god, I’m getting too old for this shit…

Yeah, that would be very stupid

If they weren’t being so damn serious about it, I’d be mighty amused by all the talk of windfall taxes on oil/gas companies daring to make money.

I would be mighty amused, because of the sheer stupidity being shown. But then people go and mean it.

Why is it stupid to talk about stealing windfall-taxing these profits? Well, because the reasons being given by the taxers for the profits are nothing to do with the actual profits.

Examples:

  • Unite fuckwit in chief says: “Tax the fuel companies now so that those who helped to create these mega-profits get their rightful share of them.” Which people are those? The shareholders who put up the capital that was then used to make the profits? The workers for the oil companies who receive a wage in return for their efforts? The forecourt owners who are making so much money that they’re shutting down? No, I think that said fuckwit-in-chief means the motorists, who pay more in tax than they do for the actual product and are accountable for something under 1% of those profits. Hence, stupid. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for lower petrol prices, but let’s hit the real thief here: G Brown, Esq.
  • Centrica is being hit for raising prices by 35% while ‘only’ reporting a 20% drop in profits. Which would make sense, if Centrica’s whole business was the delivery of gas to houses. But since it’s a big company, its somewhat spread about; the actual delivery of gas to houses is apparently run at a loss already and is in effect being cross-subsidised by other areas of the business.
  • Companies are legally obliged to do the best they can for their shareholders. Not their customers and not the Exchequer, for their shareholders. And these shareholders aren’t Mr Moneybags; they’re pension funds and the like. And quite a few of them are people who got shares when the companies were privatised. So this windfall tax isn’t the acceptable face of taxation robbery: it’s not the super rich who would be stolen from: it’s everyone.

So, I think that all the talk is plenty stupid. But I’m not laughing, I’m actually a little scared…