I’m tempted to invoke Goodwin

Disclaimer time again:

Now, before anyone starts accusing me of anti-doctor-ism, I should say this: some of my closest friends are doctors. Hell, quite a few of my family are.

So, there’s the fig leaf I’ll hide behind while I say this: some doctors do get quoted talking a lot of shite, don’t they?

Why do I bring this up now, eh?

Only because some doctors have been quoted talking quite a lot of shite.

The Optimum Population Trust calculates that “each new UK birth will be responsible for 160 times more greenhouse gas emissions . . . than a new birth in Ethiopia.” Should UK doctors break a deafening silence here? “Population” and “family planning” seem taboo words … isn’t contraception the medical profession’s prime contribution for all countries?

Contraception is not, in fact, the prime contribution for the medical profession. It’s a part, yes, and quite an important part. But I’d wager that a good A&E department is more important, in the minds of most people…

Here’s the other bit that gets me:

Dr Hayes is certainly more than willing to advise her patients on matters that many would say are outside the remit of a GP. Her practice exhorts its patients not to fly on holiday, “but if you are flying this year, please consider offsetting your carbon emissions”. Dr Hayes also requests that her patients “will walk or cycle whenever possible”, so as not to damage the environment as well as for their own health. She herself is off on sabbatical to Madagascar and Australia – no doubt having offset the carbon from her flights.

What place is it of theirs to preach on this subject? If my GP started doing it, I can see one population that would decrease pretty sharpish: their practice list…

Thankfully, my experience is that most doctors are more sensible, and much less preachy about things that are in no way related to their fucking jobs…


Lord, deliver us from idiocy

I’m sure that those of you reading from within Norn Iron can remember the good old days of security checks, closed roads, closed town centres, all that.

For those of you from outside: here’s a sample: the security gates on major roads that could turn most of West Belfast into one big holding pen; the housing estates that could be closed to all road traffic merely by the judicious parking of a single armoured car; every car getting to within a mile of the airport being stopped and ID checked; the men in the little huts around Belfast city centre checking everything, the ban on vehicles in parts of the city centre.

Basically, the huge amount of rules, regulations, high tensile steel and concrete that attempted to stop terrorists getting to their targets.

Those both within and without Norn Iron will also likely remember this: the bombs still went off. People still died. Property was still destroyed. From Royal Avenue to Thiepval Barracks – hell, to Downing Street – these fortifications didn’t stop terrorist attacks.

So will someone please take this ‘security expert’ to one side and ask him what he suggests to make airports completely impervious to terrorists?

A terrorism expert has warned that UK airports are still vulnerable, one year on from the attack on Glasgow Airport.

Security consultant Chris Yates said many of the changes put in place at Glasgow had been copied at other airports around the world.

But he said that although some “weak points” in airport security had been addressed, others remained.

There is one glaring “weak point”: the general public need to be able to get to the airport, otherwise there isn’t any point in having the airport. And no matter how much you harden the target, that weak point will remain. All the rest – the nonsensical bans on picking up passengers from the terminal, the little bags for fluids, all that – is merely theatre. Smoke and mirrors to provide an illusion of security.

But we accept it; we accept the re-emergence of the huts at points of access and the concrete bollards. We accept the queues to produce our bags of toothpaste. We baa and shuffle along like the sheep that we are. And if we don’t we’ll get added to a list somewhere, in all probability.

It makes me a little sad, it really does…

No fuckin’ need

While there are people out there who really don’t like the police, and people who really get irked at low level aircraft operations, this sort of thing is just bang out of order.

A man has been arrested on suspicion of endangering an aircraft after the pilot of a police helicopter was temporarily blinded while at the controls.

The helicopter was helping chase a vehicle in the Lancashire area.

While the pilot was flying over Nelson the beam from a laser pen was shone into his eyes. He could not see and was forced to take evasive action.

The odds of this happening are vanishingly small, and the odds of it happening in a situation where people were in a position that it would cause a crash are even lower. But that there are people who’d try it is plenty sickening.

Because it’s not just a direct strike against the people on the helicopter, it’s a direct strike against random people on the ground who could easily be hit by a tonne of metal and jet fuel heading towards them at a considerable speed.

Oh, and given the basics of ballistics, inertia, flight profiles and the training they try to instil, it’s not that unlikely that an out of control aircraft (helicopters especially) would hit the ground straight ahead of where they were. And to hit someone with a laser pen, your best bet would be directly ahead of them… So Darwin would have a decent chance of making sure that you didn’t do it again…

It’s a very trivial thing, you would think, aiming a laser pen at someone. But sometimes the consequences of it could be somewhat larger than anticipated. And that’s more than a little scary.

What did I miss?

I was away from Belfast, and television, and t’internet for a couple of days. And what happens?

Nothing much, by the sound of it. Belfast seems to be largely ticking over as normal; fuel seems to be flowing despite what must be the best paid picket line in Christendom; the beautiful red cars did rather well and United done fucked up.

Which, frankly, is no good. I need something to get worked up about; something that I can blast a quick rant off about to cover for the fact that I’ve nothing particularly annoying me at the moment. And yet nothing on that there interwab vexed me too much.

Generally, at this point I’d issue a “Thank you” to Mr C Scribe, formerly of Greyabbey, who thoughtfully sent me this link.

Oakgrove College Derry, a secondary school in the north of Ireland has fingerprinted most of its pupils to “help speed up school meals”. Parental consent was not sought before this mass fingerprint piracy was launched. This sneak attack on civil liberties should be opposed by every parent who cares for the personal data of their children.

But I cannot issue said thanks, because this is rather more annoying than I was hoping for. All the arguments against general fingerprinting of the population (which I’ve gone on about more than a little) hold, plus the additional insidious nature of teaching kids that fingerprinting is acceptable for obtaining state services.

In short:

  • What the fuck do the school think they’re playing at by bringing this in?
  • What the fuck do the majority of the parents think is happening?
  • How long do you give the half baked fuckup when people realise the scheme is what it is?

Different fry, same complaint

Or “I does as I’m told, Part II”

Oh dear. There are many, many ways to piss me off. You could say something incredibly stupid (“Oh, ID cards are a great idea”, for instance), or you could say something mean (“Higher taxes for x group are the way forward, because they deserve it for being y.”). Or you could try fucking with something I like. Like this Times dude.

I’ll tell you what’s holding us back from finally getting rid of the fried English breakfast for ever: lack of education. You never see a person with a degree eating a fry-up, do you? Certainly not someone with a 2:1 or better in a humanities subject from a university founded before the invention of the iPod. That’s because they are smart enough to know better.

I have little love for the Full English breakfast, for the obvious reason: the Ulster Fry is immeasurably better than it. But for the sake of solidarity, I’ll say that they’re similar. And thusly this attack on the English fry is an attack on all fries. And that’s just not fucking on.

Now, to qualify my issue with the above quote: I don’t have a humanities 2:1 degree from a long established university. I do have a BSc(Hons) from one of the best universities in the country, but that doesn’t match his criteria. So I’m educated by my standards, but not by the standards of Giles Coren.

And lack of education has nothing to do with the continued survival of the fry, in the same way that lack of education has nothing to do with people continuing to smoke, or drink, or drive, or ski, or leave the house without a stab vest. We know that there are risks, we know that certain activities shorten our life span. But we still do them. It’s the difference between living and staying alive.

You’ll often find that the smartest people in the world do some of the silliest things. Be it exploring, or doing strange experiments, or eating tasty food. And I can’t say that I think that’s a bad thing.

Mr Coren is mistaking education and nannying. With the first, we can make our own choices with full awareness of the consequences. With the second, someone else makes our choices with no more awareness than we have.

Can you guess which one I’d prefer?

I wonder what the trigger was

Young Bertie has always been, in the words of Madam Sweary, a cute hoor. And said cute hoor has always been a survivor. Which leads to the question, why has he decided to go now?

from the inbox

Actually, I have to say, the low grade corruption that seeps through the entire Irish government has always appealed to me; the people behind such blatant greed are far more human and understandable than the shower of smarmy, smart and allegedly idealogical bastards that sit in the Commons.. We can understand greed and stupidity; as motives they’re exactly what most of us do. We can understand when somebody screws people so that they can gain in some obvious way.

It’s when politicians try and screw us when there’s no obvious gain that we worry. With ID cards, or measures that can only destroy wealth, not create it. I don’t understand it, and it scares the bejaysus out of me.

Speaking of wealth, it’s interesting how quickly the complaints down south went from those of a poor country to those of a rich country. No longer are people complaining about being poor, they’re complaining about being ‘left behind’. People aren’t going on about socialism any more, it’s greenishness that the cause du jour. And Bertie isn’t running out because the economy is tanking, but because of a perception that he skimmed too much off the top of a strangely growing pile of national riches.

Yes, he’s a cute hoor. And I’ve probably fallen for the charm a bit in a way that only someone living outside his jurisdiction can. But I’d much rather have a government full of Berties than the useless backstabbing tossers that run us from Westminster. Which may be damning with faint praise, but as political epitaphs go, I don’t think it’s too bad…

Depends on your definition of ‘all’

Some months ago, our esteemed devolved minister for education, continuing a trend started by of her esteemed party colleague and predecessor, announced that the 11+ was to go.

This was, in my humble opinion, a fucking stupid idea.

Worse was the fact that the transfer test was abolished with absolutely no idea what was to follow it, except that it wouldn’t be a transfer test.

So imagine my surprise when I read her latest ideas.

Children’s post-primary education in Northern Ireland will depend on the area they live in.

A central group and five area groups are being set up to bring forward proposals on the future of education after the end of the 11-plus this year.

Education Minister Caitriona Ruane outlined the proposals in the assembly on Tuesday.

She insisted that she will not be rushed in the decision process, which she claims “is not a shotgun wedding”.

The final 11-plus exam will take place this year, and the education minister has been under pressure to announce what will replace it.

Ms Ruane said she has still kept all post-primary options open, the possibilty of transfer at 11 or at 14 “will be different depending on where you live”.

I can’t imagine any other way to say this, so I’ll just blurt it out.

The minister is fucking lying.

By stating months ago, and not changing, her stated opposition to academic testing being a deciding factor in school selection, she has ruled out a large swathe of post primary options. In fact, she’s pretty much ruled out the only post primary option that has not been proven to be worse than all others. All the rest is window dressing.

And what window dressing!

A set of weak, separate consultative bodies, all of which will pull their own ways. Which will, unfortunately require a lot of horse trading at the regional level. Perhaps done by the Minister of Education, do you think? How coincidental.

And all starting from April 2009? How wonderful! Bearing in mind that not one single department has been able to institute any change on schedule, I can’t help but think that this is a rather large risk. Not least for the 16,000 pupils who’ll be changing school with no idea of how they’ll be doing it…

Yes, I know there are lots of people who disagree with me on the 11+, but there are still three facts that need remembering. A majority favour selection in some form; and more of NIrish poor folk go to uni than those elsewhere; and we do better in GCSEs than elsewhere. Which is all partly down to access to our best schools being open to all on the basis of ability, rather than postcode or cash assets.

The Revenue giveth, the Revenue taketh away

This time last month, I was really quite happy.

I’d spent quite a bit of the year leading up to it in fear of the immoral entity that is Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs. Because I’d been led to believe that there would be a bit of a tax bill laid down upon me, and this didn’t please me at all.

But, given careful consideration of all relevant facts and figures and a little discussion with someone who knows about these things, I managed to work out the damage. And apparently I owed 66 new pence, which was nice. Not that nice, obviously, because it meant that I’d been taxed at source for everything, so I was still paying the bastards, but I’d braced myself for a nasty shock, and it didn’t arrive.

Then. It didn’t arrive then, because various accounting errors that occurred since – and which are at least partly my own fault, dammit – have meant that I’ve been underpaying my PAYE this year, to quite a significant degree. Which I will need to pay back post haste.

Not impressed. Boo hiss to the whole damn thing.

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear

So, in a world where nigh on everything is listed on a government computer somewhere, and only the most very trusted of public servants1 have access to these computers, what does anyone have to fear?

Nothing at all, no sirree. Not that nearly everyone knows someone with some level of access to privileged information; not that the entire chain of data security is only as strong as its weakest link; not that human nature is to look at things that you’re not meant to look at.

Nothing to fear. Honest.

1 – and their families who can get onto the tele-working laptop, and the contractors who built the database, and the office junior on a 51 week contract, and the agency secretary covering maternity leave, and and and …

I’m sure he meant this

What would you do if a government department (or a number thereof) consistently underspent their budget?

If you said stop giving them so much money and cut the taxes that resulted in government having so much money in the first place, well done. That’s what I would have said.

If, however, you muttered something along the lines of the money not spent could have been “used to address a range of needs rather than being left to accumulate”, then plz to STFU and stop spending my money kthxbye.

If a government department – the single most wasteful organisation known to man – can’t spend their budget, then clearly that budget is clearly too large. And thusly they shouldn’t be getting that money. If that holds across all departments, then clearly the entire government is getting too much money, and should cut down on it. Which means cutting each and every one of us lucky taxpayers should be getting it back.

But I’ll not be holding my breath for it…

Paging King Canute

A note for the National Union of Teachers, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers and the ‘many parents’ mentioned towards the end of this article: children (and especially boys) are not aggressive because they play with toy guns. They play with toy guns because they can be aggressive all on their own.

the National Union of Teachers (NUT) has criticised the government’s advice on toy guns.

General secretary Steve Sinnott said the problem with toy weapons was that they “symbolise aggression”.

And why is that a bad thing? Aggression is normal. As children, it’s how we find our limits. As adults, it’s how we define our limits. Aggression, in and of itself, is perfectly healthy. As with so many things, it’s only misplaced aggression that causes problems; when someone aggressively tries to move their limits over the boundary of someone else’s, that is a problem.

Does not the state use the threat of financial penalty (aggression) to ensure that children attend school?
Does not the teacher use the threat of punishment (aggression) to ensure that children behave at school?
Does not the parent use the threat of punishment (aggression) to ensure that children behave at home?

And then,

Is not the pupil expected to defend their work in class, which is a form of aggression?
Is not the pupil being prepared for the real world, where they will try to get jobs ahead of other people, by aggression?

Just saying that something is aggressive doesn’t mean that it’s automatically a bad thing. And if aggression itself isn’t a bad thing, then how can something that symbolises aggression automatically be a bad thing?

Mucking fuppets, the lot of ‘em…

A couple of simple sums

Number of passengers using BAA airports every year: 148,595,977


Average number of passengers using BAA airports every day: 407,112

So, in two 24 hour stoppages and one 48 hour stoppage, 1,628,449 people would have their travel plans nixed. All flights from Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Prestwick, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen would be cancelled, and there is nowhere in the UK that they could be redirected to. On top of that, obscene numbers of planes would be out of position for travel on the following days, resulting in misery for hundreds of thousands more people.

One more number for you: 1,946 who voted for said strike.

Those numbers are the very reason why I’m often iffy about trade unions. Two thousand folk decide for themselves that their issue should take precedence over the actions of a million and a half others. Doesn’t seem particularly nice, does it?

We’ve been there before, haven’t we?

Anyone else getting a nasty taste of déjà vu? I mean, all the European leaders have already signed an EU constitution, only to be royally smacked down by some of their pesky voters. So they’ve obviously learned; they’re not going to ask their voters.

And Brown knows how well that’ll play, which is why he sent a pleb to sign it in public; he left his signing of it until later, when there’d be no joyful celebrations as he signed away quite a bit in the way of national sovereignty.

So he’s not only a total bastard, but he’s ashamed of it. And rightly so.

Balls balls balls

You know, I thought I’d earned a little positive karma. I’d taken time off work and spent a few pounds doing something that I’d not have chosen to do myself in order that someone who should have been there was there. Hell, I’d even worn a suit for the occasion.

Apparently, my actions were insufficient to cancel out all the swearing and rowdy behaviour in the recent past, because I got home to find several things.

  • The street outside littered with fire-fighting foam and broken glass.
  • Some of my windows boarded up.
  • My front door blackened and mildly warped.

Turns out that my fucknugget of a neighbour evidently pissed off the wrong people, and one of her shitheap cars was burnt. Of course, it wasn’t parked outside her house, but outside mine and that of an innocent neighbour. So I’ll be needing four new windows, two new window frames, a new door and a new door frame, because they were all damaged by the heat.

“Welcome home, Mr Hillan. Don’t let all that talk of peace breaking out scare you, there’s still plenty of cunts out damaging property these days…”

Let’s not, eh, it just makes the place look messy

I fear that my earlier fear may have been justified. Because Brown made some farking stoopid suggestions to secure the country.

Not that I think the country needs security, by the by, I think it’s plenty secure in most respects already, and too secure in some. But that’s not what I’m taking issue with here. No, I’m taking issue with some of the stupid ideas that he’s come up with. This is the BBC’s summary of his ideas, and my thoughts on said ideas:

Security to be improved at stations, airports and ports
Acutally, this is good. In theory. Until you realise that what is called security and what actually is security are far removed from each other. What is called security: lots of armed men, lots of cameras, lots of intimidation of law abiding travellers. What is security: something that actually makes a difference to a committed terrorist.
This will include more barriers and blast-resistant buildings
Oh fan-fucking-tastic. We’ll end up with a whole network of public sector buildings that are like Antrim barracks. Actually, no, they’ll look like Antrim barracks, but will cost much more and be considerably less suited for their purpose…
Guidance sent to venues like cinemas and shopping centres
Yay! Leaflets for all, that’ll scare the nasty folk away!
More screening at big railway stations
Not so Yippee! In fact, downright Boo! Because the only reason that rail travel could be preferable to flight is the lack of invasive security. Get rid of that, and the entire idea of the romance of rail travel goes pretty damn quick.
Head teachers’ forum to protect pupils from extremist propaganda
Because the only people who should be allowed to force children to watch mindless extremist propaganda are the government. An Inconvenient Truth, anyone?
Firms responsible for crowded places to be given updated advice
Once more, leaflets to the rescue. And why updated advice? What’s changed since the last lot of advice went out? “Actually, no, we’ve decided that evacuating when a bomb alert is phoned in isn’t the right course of action, instead you must sit still and chant and the bomb will go away.”
“One bag rule” on airline hand luggage to be relaxed at some airports
Whoop-de-fucking-do. The one thing that’s no real inconvenience will be got rid of, while the real inconveniences will remain. Like the 100ml limit on liquids bullshit.
New UK Border Agency will have additional powers of detention
Holy smeg, two ideas that don’t immediately look stupid! Of course, that probably means that the stupidity is there, just not as obvious.
Airline liaison officers will be able to cancel visas
Ooh, another officer to whom travellers must be properly deferential for fear of being told they can’t come in. That couldn’t possibly be open to abuse, no sirree.
Repatriation deals sought with foreign terror suspects’ country of origin
Three ideas that aren’t immediately daft looking? Holy shit, this is a fantastic record. Still hidden in among ten fucked up ideas, but a 23% intelligence score is well above average these days…
Single senior judge to manage all terrorism cases
Of as you’d call it in engineering terms: single point of failure. In this instance meaning: just one judge to be pressured by the government; just one judge to be targeted by tiger kidnappers to influence big cases; just one judge to get a little to cosy to prosecutors and/or defenders to turn the whole thing into a farce.
Single CPS lead prosecutor for inciting violent extremism
As above.
New laws with tougher punishments and to facilitate asset freezing
Tougher punishments that will never be enforced, and more freezing of assets to make up for all the mistakes that Gordon seems to make in his sums. Wonderful.

As you might have learned from that little list, I’m not massively impressed…

Where to turn?

New Labour took power in this country two days before my sixteenth birthday; for the part of my life where I’ve cared about such things, they’ve been the party of government.

And, let’s not mince words here, I think they’ve done a fucking awful job of it, in most of the fields I’ve been caring about anyway. Regulation is way up, taxation is way up, jobs-for-the-boys are are rife as ever, personal liberty is way down, state intrusion into every aspect of private life is out of control.

In short, I don’t think too much of the Labour party. And I nearly, nearly fell into the trap of thinking that that made the Conservatives the party for me, because they’re the Opposition, right? And as such, should be opposed to the nonsense that passes for government policy, right?

Er, no so much. Instead of being sensible, and positioning themselves as the party of less regulation, less interference and less taxation, they’re proposing more of each, in this instance in the pursuit of greenism.

Boo-fucking-hiss to that proposal. Included in their proposals are the introduction of VAT on domestic flights (in clear violation of established IDQCT… policy), because it’s so much more reasonable for people to use the train than fly.

Note to Tory dickwads: I cannot get a train from Belfast to London. There is no 10.53 from South Uist to Glasgow, and frankly the service from Shetland to Liverpool is far from comfortable. So shall we all be penalised because we don’t live in GB? If so, you can go and fuck right off.

Following that horseshit policy, they also suggest that higher taxes should be paid by those using less fuel efficient cars. Clearly ignoring the obvious fact that such people already pay more, in the form of (ass-rapingly high) fuel duties for every litre of fuel they buy.

Then there’s the proposal to basically stop any expansion of airports, regardless of any economic necessity. Which gets a giant thumbs down from me. In fact, I may go and hit my thumb with a hammer, just so that the thumbs down motion is big enough to signify my displeasure.

So, the party that could, and should, be the logical choice for those who don’t like having to ask permission before doing anything is in fact just as bad as the fuckers in government. And, if anything, the Liberal Democrats are even worse…

So, what choice is there for those of a classical liberal persuasion? Because I can’t see any on the national front?

Locally, it’s even worse. Not a big picture thinker among the lot of ‘em, and not one that I can think of who would be above demanding state action on any topic…

Do I dare?

I’m a great fan of Twenty Major; I’m generally loving his work. And I am often in awe of his ability to swear at a rate of up to seventy two swears per minute.

But I think that he’s going lightly on his latest post.

Fuck your future you little cunt

Via the Devil comes this piece of shit from Greenpeace.

I guarantee you’ll watch it and the only thing it will do is make you increase your consumption of fossil fuels so that little cunt in the ad dies from skin cancer.

Only 4 swears in a post about something that fucking annoying? I’m sure I could do better, but I’m scared to try.

Not scared enough to stop me, mind.

These sorts of ‘campaigns’ are right up there on the list of things that I really, really hate about Greenpeace and their ilk. When their outright lies, their mistakes, their ‘non violent protests’ don’t get the outcome they want, they go all out, and get some little shit to start making thinly veiled threats. But here’s the thing: they don’t bother stopping the misinformation. They say that there’s a scientific consensus that the earth is getting warmer, and then immediately follow it with their bullshit opinion – that it’s all down to what we’re doing, and what we’re not.

Fuck. That. Shit.

You want to train some little fuckwits to start saying “we’ll make you change your ways, and we won’t play nice”? Well, twat-features, here’s a news flash: I don’t think all us oil burners will take kindly to that. Not at all.

And beyond that, you make the claim, “Either you’re for my future, or you’re against it”.

Guess what, chump: I fucking against it. I’m unbelievably against the future that Greenpeace would like; a future of overpowering control of the human spirit, a future where animal right would supersede human rights, a future where human biology would be ignored in the pursuit of further nonsensical campaigns.

Am I for that? Am I buggery. Fuck off and stick your campaign videos up your hole. I’ll be quite happy moving at beyond a walking pace in my lovely car while you sit at the side of the road, starving because of your inability to face reality and your ignorance of the real fucking world.

Plz to shut up, twunts.