Blog Archives

A personal message to AFL tipping

In the time I’ve lived in Oz I’ve grown to quite like Aussie Rules football, even if after a few years’ watching – and to my in-laws’ annoyance – I’ve still not nailed my colours to any particular club’s mast and really watch mainly in the hope of seeing a good game rather than this team beating that team. One part of the game that I’ve got into is weekly tipping, which at its simplest is no more than predicting which games will result in a win for which teams. There are more complex variations on this theme and obviously it can involve betting on your predictions, but many tipping competitions run by newspapers etc. are completely free to enter and any prizes are put up by sponsors. Not being a betting man by nature and also being a total footy virgin when I arrived in Oz I’m only in a friendly tipping tournament where it’s just a bit of fun and the AFL’s own tipping competition in the vague hope of becoming good enough or more likely lucky enough to win a few bob.

And now I’m going to stop. Not the fun, friendly weekly tipping where the only prize is bragging rights, but the official AFL tipping competition for sending me this via email:

Click for embiggerfication and nannying brain damage

And as a non-smoker here is my reply:

Fuck off and fuck you, and especially to Quitline, fuck you right in the lungs. Do you really have to inject this killjoy fanaticism into fucking everything? Does the AFL really need to get into bed with these Strength Through Joy wowsers who feed off of people’s backs in the same fucking way they accuse the fucking tobacco industry of doing, except by being tax funded they do it to everyone, smoker and non-smoker alike? Well, that’s up to you but don’t expect me to join in. I’m all for the grounds banning smoking if that’s what they wish since it’s their property and they’d have to sweep up afterwards, though after a game I’ve never seen either the MCG or Docklands stadium looking like anything other than an explosion in a fast food factory that someone has attempted to extinguish with a million plastic glasses of beer. Still, their property, their rules, and the hordes of smokers who rush to the exits at the end of each quarter for a quick smoke in the free zone beyond the doors must accept it. Or spend their money on a Foxtel subscription so they can smoke in front of their own TV instead. And I’m all for the AFL to accept whoever it likes as sponsors for its competitions, but just as we don’t have to watch the games in the grounds we don’t have to play a competition sponsored by the worst kind of paternalist, nanny-state arseholes. I’ll be tipping locally only or in one of the other big competitions from next week on.

My unkindest disregards to your buddies, the health fascists,
AE

And we never suspected

Iraq. It seems – and I realise this will come as a shock to many people – oil was a consideration before the invasion. Yeah, I know, me too. But apparently it was.

Government ministers discussed plans to exploit Iraq’s oil reserves in the months before Britain took a leading role in invading Iraq, documents have revealed.
The secret papers, obtained by an oil campaigner and published by The Independent, are minutes of meetings between senior oil executives and Labour cabinet members, and highlight for the first time the hollow nature of Western governments’ public denials of national self-interest in the decision to invade Iraq.

Still, at least it’s all coming out in the open now, eh?

Oh, wait, no it isn’t (my bold).

The documents, which have not been provided to the continuing Chilcot inquiry into Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war, appear to contradict statements made by Shell in 2003, just before the invasion, that reports of meetings between the oil giant and Downing Street about Iraqi oil were ”highly inaccurate”.

And it sounds like it wasn’t just the British government with it’s eyes on the black gold.

The published papers cover October and November 2002 and show that just five months before the invasion, Baroness Symons, then the British trade minister, told BP that the government believed British energy firms should take a share of Iraq’s enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Mr Blair’s military commitment to US plans for regime change.
The minutes reveal that she also agreed to lobby the Bush administration on behalf of BP because it feared being ”locked out” of discussions and deals purportedly being thrashed out between the US, France and Russia, and their oil companies.

Now I’m sure it wasn’t the only consideration – I expect some really thought Saddam had a hand in 9/11, and some really thought it’d be good for the Iraqi people, and some really thought we needed to finish the job left over from 1991, and some really thought they had weapons of mass destruction, and some really thought that Dubya was right to go after the man who tried to kill his ‘daddeh’.* In hindsight it doesn’t look now as if any of them were actually very good reasons, and a lot of people didn’t think much of them beforehand either. Oil got mentioned a lot from the word go but everybody in industry and governments alike protested that it wasn’t, no, really it wasn’t.

You can admit it now, fellas. It was a bit about the oil, eh? Might not have been the prime concern but it was a sufficiently attractive side benefit to have ministers bouncing about trying to broker the best deal for their nation’s companies. I’m sure that’s a great comfort to the families of dead coalition servicemen and women.

* One day the world will discover how to type in cod accents and the internet will be better for it.

There is only one appropriate word…

… and it is ‘bastards‘.

Actually, no. The more I think about it the more I can come up with lots of appropriate words.

Gravy train derailment – repairs underway

The troughing bastards are still at it, and again we see that there’s little difference between the dishonourable members on one side of the Commons and those on the other.

Richard Benyon is one of the richest MPs in Parliament. The great-great-grandson of three-times Tory Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, he can trace his ancestry back to William Cecil, the chief political adviser to Elizabeth I.
Tory MP Mr Benyon, the Environment and Fisheries Minister, has received income from a family trust which owns a 20,000-acre estate worth £125 million.

Farming Minister Jim Paice has also received several thousands of pounds in EU subsidies for his farm in Cambridgeshire over the same ten-year period.

Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper have been referred to the parliamentary sleaze watchdog after claiming more than £14,000 in travel expenses for their children.
The Shadow Chancellor and his wife, the Shadow Home Secretary, have claimed for 375 journeys for their three children between 2007 and 2010.
MPs are limited to 30 travel-expenses claims per child a year. But because Mr Balls and Miss Cooper are married, they can claim for twice as many free trips for their children as other MPs with young families.
The Labour couple have claimed for 105 more journeys than a family with three children would be permitted if only one parent was an MP.

In the case of the two Tories you’d think that even a whiff of a conflict of interest would have a sensible party leadership making effort to put those people in other jobs. And as for Mr and Mrs Blinky’s claims, why the hell do MPs even get one travel claim per year per child, never mind fucking thirty? Are the children the MPs? No. Do other people get to expense travel for their children? Pretty fucking rarely I imagine.

A spokesman for the couple said they take their children to and fro because obviously neither of them has a wife or husband who can stay behind to look after them.

Look, if arranging the job around your children and vice versa make being an MP difficult – and I’m quite sure it does a lot of the time – then one or both of you probably shouldn’t fucking be one. Well, I’d say both of you for entirely unrelated reasons obviously, but you know what I mean.

He pointed out that the House of Commons paid the equivalent of 22 round trips for the children last year and that, unlike other MPs, they do not claim for spouses travel which other MPs can.

No, because they’re both claiming as MPs. Good one, eh?

Labour MP Sharon Hodgson, the shadow children’s minister, said: ‘The thing I’ve always respected about Ed and Yvette is that while they have been in the public eye they’ve always protected their children and kept them out of politics.
‘So this is a desperate new low from the Tories to try to drag their children into a political fight.
‘Ed and Yvette have to be in Parliament and their constituencies each week and they also take their family responsibilities very seriously.
Who on earth does Mr Bridgen think is supposed to look after their children if they have to leave them behind in London or Yorkshire? He isn’t living in the real world.’

And you are, are you, Sharon? Well… no, actually, because they fucking don’t have to at all, you witless bitch. Neither of them were forced at gunpoint to become MPs in the way British taxpayers are forced at gunpoint to continue to pay for them. Neither have a gun to their heads forcing them to carry on doing it. Either of them could stop at any time. “Taking their family responsibilities seriously” my sweaty arse.

Of course, just like the Tory troughers they’re only taking advantage of what’s on offer and I’m certain that it’s all above board and within the rules. So much fucking easier to do when you help write the fucking rules, isn’t it?

Bastards, the fucking lot of them.

Some people really are weapons grade cunts

Despite liberally sprinkling my posts with Anglo-Saxon on many occasions I try not to put swearwords in post titles too often if I can help it. However, it’s hard to avoid it when I read something like this.

Click pic for link – also at The Telegraph

The needle on my personal misanthropy meter went so sharply to the right of the dial that it broke the stop off, smashed through the side of the case and is now stuck a half inch deep in the wall. What kind of colossal übercunt does that? What kind of fucking parasite sinks that low? Actually using the word ‘parasite’ is a little unfair and I should probably apologise now, just in case I’ve offended any cases of amoebic dysentery that resent the comparison with cunts who take off their own kind in time of natural disaster. They might live in shit and spend much of their time making their victims feeling wretched and miserable, but at least parasitic amoebas don’t sink to doing it to their own kind.

Of course the unspeakable fucking mutations that were responsible almost certainly didn’t know they were looting the home of someone who’d died, that they were stealing the possessions of her grieving family. But they surely would have known that some people had died or at least that it was a strong possibility. The fact that there had been a fucking earthquake can’t have escaped their attention, for Christ’s sake. It’s not a huge mental leap to imagine that when looting damaged and unattended homes you might possibly be only one remove from fucking grave robbing.

Obviously I hope that they’re caught, that the New Zealand police and prosecutors nail them with a completely watertight case, and that the court chooses to impose the most severe sentences that it can to reflect the utter depths of bastardry and cuntishness that is using the damage caused by a fucking earthquake as an opportunity to steal. That’s certainly what ought to happen in a civilised society, but failing that some poetic justice would be appropriate… is it wrong of me to hope that a fucking building falls on them too?

Cunts.

A question

If warning other drivers of speed traps is illegal in Britain, as the recent case in Humberside and this 2004 one in Hampshire show, then why has nobody ever been prosecuted for sticking up a sign like the one on the left? Why has nobody attempted to prosecute the manufacturers of various detectors or GPS based preprogrammed warning devices? And why have neither North Lincolnshire Council nor the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Safer Roads Partnership been prosecuted for publishing the locations where they operate the fucking things? If you’re reading this from either of those areas perhaps you might let the police know that a crime has been committed and cite the precedents, though of course we all know that precisely cube root of fuck all will happen.

Bastards.

Holy Shit Moment of the Day – UPDATED

Via Uncle Bill, Colonel Gaddafi or however you spell it has reportedly done a runner to Venezuela. I hadn’t got round to blogging on the protests in that part of the world reaching Libya and how the bastards began shooting in response, but I’ll admit that my thoughts on it were that if one fucker was going to tough it out, if there was one man crazy enough to say fuck it and try to hang on in there, it would have been the Colonel with the funny ‘tache who founded the famous Qatafi Fried Killing restaurant chain.*

I bet I’madinnerjacket won’t be needing suppositories for a while.

UPDATE – now reportedly claiming that he’s still in Tripoli and bagging anyone who says he isn’t. However, I suspect that even if he hasn’t moved an inch just the rumour going around that he’d fled the country will have done him some damage, not to mention increased bog roll orders from a few Presidential palaces elsewhere.

* It’s Window Lickin’ Good.

After you, Dave.

According to The Teletubbygraph David Cameramong is shortly going to be talking about freedom.

British Muslims must subscribe to mainstream values of freedom and equality, David Cameron will say as he declares that the doctrine of multiculturalism has “failed” and will be abandoned.

He will also warn that groups that fail to promote British values will no longer receive public money or be able to engage with the state.

Well, that sounds a nice idea, Dave. I’m all for the state not funding any groups promoting anything at all, much less those promoting things that go against British values – if they can’t get funding from people who see things their way then they sure as hell don’t deserve a penny of taxpayers’ money.* And I certainly won’t argue that the whole multiculti dream has created more problems than it solved or that those who don’t like living in a free country and refuse to adapt are, ironically, free to leave it. But I have a question for you: when are you going subscribe to the values of freedom and equality you’re lecturing others about?

No, I am deadly serious. Britain is a country where speaking your mind risks legal action if other people don’t like what you say, which means that there is no freedom of speech – say the wrong thing and someone may use the courts and the legal system to silence you. The same courts protect slebs and shag-happy bootfallers from having their embarrassing lives discussed in the media, and while I have no interest in reading about them anyway it means that there’s no freedom of the press either. While in theory law abiding citizens have the right to defend themselves against violent attack they are in practice denied almost all means of doing so effectively, so the freedom to defend oneself is extremely shaky. Even aside from the ridiculous detention of people for taking photos and buying tobacco or because the police can’t remember the difference between a suspect and a witness, there is no freedom from malicious arrest or from cruel and unusual punishment since UK police forces, when they’re not delaying the proles for the convenience of surgically enhanced minor slebs, may be required by foreign law enforcement to arrest British citizens or residents with little in the way of prima facie evidence and for offences that need not be crimes in the UK.** If you are of a religious persuasion and hold certain disagreeable views about homosexuals you are not free to allow them to influence the way you choose to do business or with whom, which means Britons do not have freedom of religion or association either and are not free to exercise property rights. The drugs laws mean that people aren’t free to decide what to put in their own bodies and the persistent belief in the state as moral guardian and arbiter means that those with vaginas aren’t free to use them to earn a quid from those without one. For heaven’s sake, even consensual sex requires an IQ test now. And don’t get me started on how completely not-at-all-like-being-free it feels to fucking fly anywhere these days because I might not stop for a while.

Want me to carry on, Dave? Want me to look at the lack of freedom British citizens have when it comes to being heard over Britain’s EU membership despite the promises of both Cobbleition parties? Or the apparently shelved, or at least vastly watered down, Great Repeal Bill that you promised would be used to sweep away much of the most pointless and egregious legislation put on the books by previous governments? Or the way the promise that that would be open to public consultation was broken almost as soon as it became clear that many people wanted the smoking ban reconsidered? Freedom to for business owners and patrons to choose for themselves – no, can’t have that, can we?

And it gets worse.

Entering the debate on national identity and religious tolerance, the Prime Minister will declare an end to “passive tolerance” of divided communities, and say that members of all faiths must integrate into wider society and accept core values.
To be British is to believe in freedom of speech and religion, democracy and equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality, he will say. Proclaiming a doctrine of “muscular liberalism”, he will say that everyone, from ministers to ordinary voters, should actively confront those who hold extremist views.

See what I mean? To be considered properly British in Cameramong’s Britain you have to believe in mutually incompatible ideals. You have equal rights subject to them clashing with someone whose rights are more equal than yours. You have freedom of speech provided you don’t say anything unacceptable. You have freedom to believe in whatever god or gods you like and practice which ever flavour of religion that appeals to you providing you don’t believe in the bits that the British state aren’t comfortable with. And what the fuck is “muscular liberalism”? I’d really love to know because it sounds awfully like a doctrine of the state being free to exercise force against citizens until they are made to see things its way, and if so I don’t think there’s anything remotely liberal about it.

These freedoms are fucking absolutes, you hateful authoritarian prick. You are at liberty or you have restrictions. You are free or you are not. It’s that fucking simple, Dave, and if you can’t or won’t practice what you preach then I rate you as little better than those you have the chutzpah to lecture about it.

Bastard!

* Since I’d hold libertarian organisations to that principle I’d sure as fuck say it applies to any group that exists to tell other people what to do and how to live. Get by on voluntary donations or get lost.
** As the case of the Natwest Three showed us, it’s not always even necessary for any offence to have taken place in the jurisdiction that asked for the arrests to be made.

Was it something I said?

I don’t generally go in for looking too much at my visitor stats, being the fragile soul I am and unsure if my delicate ego can take it if neither of my readers show up one day (hi, Mum). But as I mentioned earlier I have looked today just out of long dormant curiosity about what search terms people have been using, and while they were a bit boring by comparison with some of the lunacy that takes people to some other blogs I did notice that I’ve had an awful lot of visitors in the past 24 hours. Much of it is from the US and it’s mostly going to one F-bomb strewn post about the increasing levels of airport security theatre in general and those bloody airport body scanners in particular.

I’d like to expand on that earlier post a little by telling you about the moment when for me airport security jumped the shark so hugely that there was room for several full grown Megalodons tucking into an eight course whale banquet underneath. This was at London’s Heathrow airport in early 2003, just a few month after someone shot at (and missed, thankfully) an Israeli airliner with surface to air missiles as it left Mombasa airport in Kenya for Tel Aviv.

… it was the missile attack at the Mombasa airport that sent shivers around the world, even though the stingers missed the Tel Aviv-bound plane with 271 people aboard.
Israeli Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it “a very serious escalation of international terrorism.”
“Today, they’re firing the missiles at Israeli planes. Tomorrow, they’ll fire missiles at American planes,” he said.

Whether it was some concrete intelligence or whether it was just a feeling in Britain that if it could be American planes then it could as easily be British too, and so began what seemed to me to be the most high profile but completely fucking pointless security operation at Heathrow airport. From the BBC:

The deployments of troops at Heathrow Airport has once again highlighted the danger to airliners from shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles in the hands of terrorists.

Although there has been no confirmation of the specific threat to UK airports, speculation is rampant that the current state of alert has been sparked by fear of a missile attack.

The Daily Mail:

Meanwhile, a heavy military presence was in place at Heathrow as London remained on a heightened level of security alert amid fears of a possible terrorist attack.
Scotland Yard has refused to reveal the substance of the threat but terror experts said it pointed to a possible missile attack on a plane similar to the one carried out by al Qaeda terrorists in Kenya last year.

The Indie:

The plan seems to have been to fire a shoulder-held anti-aircraft missile at a commercial airliner taking off from Heathrow. Members of al-Qa’ida are known to possess the Russian-built Strela-2 missile, better known as the SAM-7, which has a height range of 3,000 feet. They have used the weapon before in attempted attacks, most recently when two missiles were fired at an Israeli charter aircraft taking off from Mombasa airport in Kenya last November. The Strela-2 can be fired from more than three kilometres away. It was also possible that they had obtained a Stinger air-to-surface missile made in America, which is even more powerful.

The Teletubbygraph:

A suspected Islamist plot to fire a missile at an airliner prompted the largest security operation at Heathrow for a decade yesterday.
Tony Blair personally authorised the use of 450 troops, with armoured vehicles, to back up more than 1,300 police officers.
Soldiers from the 1st Bn Grenadier Guards and Household Cavalry, carrying semi-automatic weapons, patrolled the terminals and the 17-mile perimeter road.

Al-Qa’eda is believed to have a stock of shoulder-launched surface-to-air (SAM) missiles, some capable of reaching targets at a height of 10,000ft and up to five miles away.

Assuming that they’d want to shoot at aircraft landing or taking off, five miles from Heathrow’s runways means attackers would have something like the red area in which to shoot from, possibly a bit more or a bit less depending on how quickly planes departing or arriving at the airport pass in or out of that 10,000 foot ceiling. So potentially all of Staines and Ashford would need watching, plus the outskirts of Windsor

Click to enlarge – 

Egham, and Slough. And then there’s all of Hounslow and Isleworth too. And all those fields and roads and so on. Whether they’d want to attack from a rural location where they’d hope to remain unseen or an urban area where they might hope to disperse or near a main road for a fast escape, there’s a lot of choice.

So what protection did Heathrow get to deal with this threat and cover the 150 or so square miles it might come from?

… 450 soldiers at Heathrow, using armoured Scimitar and Spartan reconnaissance vehicles, were deployed throughout the airport from dawn as the first of the day’s 150,000 passengers began checking in.

So about three soldiers per square mile if they were evenly spread, but since they were all hanging around the fucking airport the real average beyond the airport itself must have been close to zero.

Click images for links to Life originals

And excuse my layman’s ignorance but what the fuck were they going to do there? Seriously? The Scimitar is an armoured reconnaissance vehicle with a 30mm cannon firing a variety of ammunition up to 4,000 metres and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun in case you only need to make something lightly dead. While I’d be very reluctant to get on the wrong end of either of them I highly doubt that they’ve been used to shoot down many surface to air missiles, particularly if launched from a site and at a target beyond the 4,000 metre range of the Scimitar’s main weapon. So as far as I can see deploying troops in Scimitars was, to quote Malcolm Tucker, as much use as a marzipan dildo. The Spartan, being an armoured personnel carrier with just the machine gun, wasn’t even that useful.

So I ask again: what the fuck were the troops and armour for? Had the worst happened and some young lads with full balls and empty heads, too hopeful of getting laid in the next world to settle down and enjoy this one, actually got hold of a couple of Stingers and downed a plane – because the troops didn’t seem to have anything that would have stopped it – what exactly were they going to do? Presumably they could use their vehicles’ speed across country to close within range of the wreckage and… er… look at it for a bit until the fire brigade showed up and began hosing down the burning debris. Perhaps you might be thinking that there was an unaired possibility of a car attack like the one at Glasgow airport in 2007, but if so I still don’t see what good they’d be. Let me put it like this: hands up anyone who likes the idea of machine gun fire and 30mm cannon shells flying around one of the world’s busiest airports.

Anyone? Anyone at all?

No, thought not.

So it seems to me that their purpose was never to be an effective counter to possible missile fire but to be seen, to make the threat seem credible, to make people think it was being taken seriously if the Army was being deployed, and to give everyone the illusion of being safer.* And look, who knows? Maybe there was a lot of other stuff going on with the police, Special Branch, MI5 etc behind the scenes to make sure a missile wouldn’t be launched in the first place. That seems likely to me but it certainly wouldn’t require the support of 450 soldiers in light tanks hanging around outside the terminals who weren’t equipped for doing much in the event of an attack but standing guard while someone else swept up the fucking wreckage unless, by some miracle, a spectacularly stupid terrorist chose to set up to fire a SAM within range of a 30mm and without any innocent civilians in the way.

So that was when and where I stopped taking it seriously, and I’ve looked at it all with a critical eye ever since. As a practical matter I don’t worry about flying because the odds are really very good for each individual passenger, but I’d feel absolutely no safer as a result of all this crap we’re put through before we’re allowed to fly and certainly not from seeing troops equipped for battle with Soviet patrols blocking the entrance to the fucking car park. As I keep saying, the Israelis don’t bother with this bullshit and they’re surrounded by people who want them dead. More to the point, I object to being treated like a suspect when there is no earthly reason I should be. I doubt I look or act like a loony bomber and I imagine the only profile I fit is that of an annoyed bastard who objects to having to turn up so early for an international flight because of all the fucking security procedures that it’s fast becoming possible to spend more time in the fucking airports at either end than in the fucking air between them.

And here’s a thought – almost certainly neither do you! And if we don’t then why the fuck are we having to pay for the privilege of being treated this way?

Well, I won’t. Flying doesn’t scare me but it does bore me, and these days it also offends me. For that they should be paying me to get on the fucking plane! Until something changes I simply won’t fly unless circumstances absolutely force me to. This is a bloody big country and that choice sometimes means either a long drive or bus ride or a slightly faster but very expensive train journey, and obviously all international trips would mean a very long swim. So the bastards know they’ll get me on a plane now and then – for my last trip to Perth I didn’t have time to go overland and had to grit my teeth through the bullshit, especially when I forgot about shoe checks and showed up in hiking boots – but if at all possible I’ll drive straight past the airport, window down, arm extended and middle finger raised to the unfriendly skies.

And I recommend it to anyone.

Edited to add: link fixed. Thanks for the heads up to Sadbutmadlad.

* And maybe, just maybe, to build the foundations for people to accept far more expensive and intrusive security theatre later.

The most epic example of pots and kettles.

It seems Cameramong is so determined to prevent the House of Lords from stonewalling the necessary legislation for the referendum on AV and the reduction in the number of MPs – both of which I feel the man deserves some rare credit for – that he’s grown a set large enough to stand up to the group of mostly Labour peers who are being a pain.

Senior Government figures suspect that some peers are deliberately dragging out the debate to stop the legislation being passed in time for a planned referendum in May. The Prime Minister plans to table a motion to “guillotine” the debate tonight if Labour refuses to back down. It would be voted on tomorrow, in what critics say would be a substantial change to how the Upper House handles legislation.

I have to admit to more than just mild surprise, but what really made my jaw bounce off the deck was this:

Labour has accused him of planning a “constitutional outrage”.

This would be the same Labour which when last in office regularly and quite thoroughly wiped its collective shit encrusted arse with the British constitution, yes? The same Labour which agreed to extradite British citizens to foreign countries on the most tenuous prima facie evidence if any? The same Labour that brought in house arrest, control orders and detention without trial? The same Labour that gave itself and any future government, along with their public sector minions at various levels, unprecedented powers to spy on British citizens? The same Labour that granted itself the power to seize assets of those convicted of crimes without needing to prove they were acquired by criminal means? The same Labour that attempted to bring in ID cards and numerous databases with which to monitor and control its citizens? The same Labour which ejected many hereditary members of the House of Lords while stuffing the place with its own cronies and yes-men? The same Labour which always kept a hand on the Parliament Act in order to batter the Lords into submission whenever they didn’t play ball? The same Labour that passed a number of mini-enabling acts allowing British law up to and including Habeas fucking Corpus to be altered or suspended at ministerial whim?

Oh, yes. That Labour.

You despicable fucking hypocrites. How the cunting fuck can you lowlife, self-serving arrogant pack of spunk gargling sycophants, swindlers and cheats even say that while keeping a straight face?

Lord Falconer of Thoroton, the shadow constitutional affairs spokesman, said: “The consequence of a guillotine is that the Government would get control of the Lords. This would be an abomination. Within seven months of getting into power they are trying to castrate the only independent part of it.”

So says another placeman and crony of the grinning mutation, warmonger, constitution shredder and arch-übercunt of the lower darkness, Blair. In fact Charlie Falconer was the first person Blair had made a peer, and was made an instant Solicitor General as a reward for his nanosecond’s service in the Lords. This was on the 6th of May 1997, four days after Labour won the election, and I guess several weeks after Falconer had purely coincidentally applied to be the Labour candidate for Dudley East in the same election only to be knocked back because his kids were in private school. Presumably he did not think it remotely abominable to have failed even to be chosen as a candidate, much less an MP, only to be been given a peerage and a government position purely for being an old flatmate, wingman and law-buddy of the new Prime Bastard. Or to have then been given a Cabinet position just over a year later when the Mandelsnake tripped over his own forked tongue (for the first time). Or, for that matter, any of the rest of the positions he occupied in his government including that of the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, in which Falconer gutted the position of Lord Chancellor of many of its roles and gave them instead to the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs. Which position was of course occupied by Charlie Falconer, Baron of Thoroton and never fucking voted for by anyone in his whole government – can hardly say political – career, which lasted almost as long as that of his bestest friend, Tony, and very useful indeed it was to the warmongering arch-übercunt as good old Charlie was in a position to help make sure Blair’s war was at least apparently legal.

None of which bears even the faintest whiff of anything unconstitutional or the most vague hint of being even slightly abominable. Of course.

Motes and beams, Charlie boy, you despicable bastard. Motes and fucking beams. As in while you’re picking the motes out of thine own eye I rather hope a lot of fucking beams fall on you.

When do people get ownership of their own bodies back?

I ask only because New South Wales seems to have decided that it owns a bit more of its female citizens than it used to, and it’s a part that I’d have imagined most women would have said is absolutely theirs and nobody else’s.

From March in New South Wales, although not in Victoria, it will be a crime to enter into a commercial surrogacy agreement … punishable by two years’ jail and a $110,000 fine.

Yes, ladies of New South Wales, your government owns your uteruses. Well, what else do you call it when someone has the final say over the use of something if not ownership? And in fact it’s not just the women living there that the NSW government doesn’t like to have making money with their reproductive systems. From what I can see the law applies to NSW residents seeking a surrogate rather than the surrogate themselves, and this is to stop people hopping on a plane and paying a few thousand bucks to someone in India or elsewhere. Get caught at it and that $110,000 fine might blow anything being saved for the baby’s future and then some, and that’s assuming they don’t simply jail the parents and take the baby into care. Not saying NSW would do that sort of thing but I suspect the childcatchers of the UK would.

“If we are banning commercial surrogacy in Australia why would we allow it to take place somewhere else?” [says Community Services minister Linda Burney]

I’ve got news for you, Linda. It’s not your fucking choice to make. You lot get a say over New South Wales, and I’d suggest far too big a say already, but that’s fucking it. You do not get to determine what people are allowed to do with their bodies in other states and you sure as hell don’t get to in completely different countries.

… Linda Burney, introduced the legislation extending the ban on commercial surrogacy to overseas arrangements. She was concerned not just about poor women from third world countries being exploited…

And if it’s entirely a personal choice with no exploitation involved, what then? You’ve just done some Indian woman out of a decent amount of money with which she could have done all sorts of things for her own family. She’s not being held down and raped for this, she’s being paid. Exploitation? You might see it that way but she might see it as a simple commercial arrangement that she’s quite comfortable with, and might see laws brought in by some hand wringing white do-gooder projecting her own values as the actions of a patronising, spiteful, racist bitch who’s still got a touch of the White (Wo)man’s burden.

… but also about the welfare of the child, especially when the surrogates are also donating the egg.

“I believe very much that a child has an absolute right to know who they are and where they come from and that’s not possible if they’re a surrogate child from overseas.”

It’s not about what you believe but about what the parties involved believe. For what it’s worth I’m kind of inclined to agree but it’s not up to me either. Nor is it as simple as a child’s right. Does the surrogate not have a right to take the money and just go if that happens to be what they want? Don’t they have the right to state very clearly that they’re not after a relationship but a cheque? Look, if they want to swap email addresses and have some kind of, I don’t know what you’d call it, some semi-family abroad who send birthday cards and photos then fine. But if the surrogate actually wants to avoid that then what about her rights?

See the clash, Linda? Probably not because like so many politicians you are obsessed with rights and give no thought at all to liberties. If you lot just stayed out of the way then the child would naturally have the freedom to ask and to seek out the surrogate if that’s what they want, who in turn would have the freedom to try to avoid being found, again if that’s what they want. And vice versa. This isn’t good enough for politicians who, in the interests of fairness and impartiality, tend to take sides without even realising they’re doing it. And then they just fuck things up for everybody.

And do you know what the weirdest thing is? As the only place where even the street trade is almost entirely legal New South Wales has the most liberal prostitution laws of any Australian state. In short they have no problems at all with a woman using her vagina to make money, but if she starts thinking a few centimetres further up then the government steps in and takes over.

Not your womb. Theirs.

G’day and Kraft durch Freude.

No smoking sign at Dachau concentration camp

As Dick Puddlecote noted recently, there’s a depressing kind of bansturbatory oneupmanship going on between the respective healthists, nannys, Big Pharma tit leeches and governments of the UK and Australia. It’s like there’s some competition going on, perhaps with a little trophy at stake. The Fag Ashes, maybe.

Dick Puddlecote notes:

Anything else up your sleeve, Anne? [Anne Milton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Public Health), Health; Guildford, Conservative]
Also, the Australian Government have announced their intention to introduce a legislative requirement for the plain packaging of tobacco to commence on 1 January 2012. The evidence supporting their action is summarised in the technical report “Australia: the healthiest country by 2020-Technical report 2 Tobacco Control in Australia”.

She’s not wrong, you know. The Aussies have most definitely done that. And their reason for doing so (page 2)?

If we act quickly, Australia can overtake the British Government and become the first country in the world to mandate that cigarettes be sold in plain packaging.

That’s right. It’s a global game of ‘keeping up with the Joneses‘.

Who cares if there isn’t any evidence? It’s all about bragging rights and dick-waggling, isn’t it. Oh yes it is.

Oh, yes indeed, my poor old dismembered chum, yes indeed. Never mind evidence based policy, and Christ knows that’s a fucking rare beast indeed these days. And never mind even policy based evidence. This is just doing something because someone else has said they going to do it, and the thought that they might have the bragging rights for being first is risking loss of bansturbatory erections.

And on a practical matter I’m confused by the Australian boner for plain packaging. I really am. Not only because the whole thing seems preposterous – who spends five minutes gazing at the packet while smoking a cigarette instead of enjoying the taste? – but because for the life of me I can’t see what the fuck is the point of plain packets when they’re already banned from display in most of the country (with strong hints that other states will soon fall into line). Oh yes, Victoria joined in with this lunacy on Jan 1st this year, though I have to point out that they are not quite as insane as the Australian Capital Territory which has gone as far as applying their law to tobacconists as well. Yes, folks, it’s true, despite it making as much sense as banning Ikea from displaying furniture. It’s a fucking tobacconist. If you don’t want to see then don’t go in the fucking shop.

WHERE the wall of cigarettes once stood behind chocolates and sweets is now a plain white cupboard, big and bland. Smoking here looks about as sexy as office furniture.

Again I feel I have to explain that smokers enjoy the taste of cigarettes and really don’t give a second hand shit what the displays or packets look like. Those who no longer enjoy the taste will quit no matter what the packets or displays look like. Understand? It’s about the smoking itself. Fuck’s sake, look at all those people in Britain and Ireland buying smuggled baccy and all those people smoking chop-chop here. No advertising, no displays, no point of sale material and possibly, actually definitely in the case of chop-chop, no branded packaging. And it seems as if that business is booming. If displays and packaging were important that illicit trade shouldn’t be going up, yes? But having chosen to believe that you can become addicted to nicotine by looking at the fucking packets and hidden the horror of branded tobacco packaging behind a combination of curtains, shutters and doors, what then did the Victorian government expect to gain from making the packets themselves plain?

Gone from sight are the bright packs coloured red, gold and alpine blue. Gone, too, are the matching photos of blackened lungs, fatty white arteries and gangrened toes.

But… but… but they were the hard hitting images that were supposed to make everyone quit. Could this be a tacit admission that they were as useful as an underwater cigarette lighter? If not why not put them up on the doors? It’s not like a it can be about hiding the cigarette kiosks because they’re instantly identifiable to everyone, smokers and non-smokers alike, and not just because we can all remember being able to see the packets there a couple of months ago.

Cigarettes were hidden by roller doors and drawers inside convenience stores, service stations and supermarkets. A city kiosk draped black shrouds over its stock, as if in mourning.

Don’t be so fucking silly. It’s probably just the cheapest way they found to comply with the legislation.

A South Yarra corner store kept its cigarettes inside a grey cupboard next to an open display of bongs – which the government plans to ban as well.

This is the new Coalition state government, led by a party which has the cojones to call itself The Liberals. Yes, I know. I will pause for a moment while you wipe whatever you were drinking off your monitor (and it better not be coffee because that’s coming up on the bansturbators’ list).

And in case you were wondering whether the Liberals In Name Only were merely too lazy to stop this ridiculous exercise in fagophobia the answer is no, the pricks supported it (my bold).

Health Minister David Davis said local and state health officers would help retailers comply with the new legislation, which won bipartisan support in 2009.

Now all this is bad enough but some local councils are going further, including one not far from here. Nearly a year ago I blogged on Frankston council’s banning smoking in an outdoor shopping precinct, and now Port Phillip Council are targeting outdoor café areas (and a couple of good comments there for DP’s dribbling psychos thread).

OUTLAWING smoking in outdoor dining areas could be on the menu for Port Phillip as pressure from anti-smoking campaigners mounts.

They’re eating areas you see, and there’s the possibility that someone might imagine that someone else near them has some cigarettes and feel slightly queasy at the thought (Nth hand smoke – becoming ill due to the knowledge that tobacco exists, known previously as worrying yourself sick).

Port Phillip mayor Rachel Powning said smoking had been banned on Port Phillip beaches since December and there may be support to ban it from alfresco dining areas when the issue is discussed at council this year.

Look, outside one of two things happen. The first is if it’s blowy, which means the smoke disperses very quickly and you need to be sitting right next to the smoker to get a face full. There are various solutions for the rabid fagophobe here. My preference is simply to move away and the problem is solved, but if that’s not an option find another café where the owner, not the government, has asked his customers not to smoke – if the demand is there from all the fagophobes wanting absolutely no smoking anywhere near them then there will certainly be some. Or, and this is going to be a little radical, you could find a non-smoking area in the café you’re in. Like maybe fucking everywhere indoors since you succeeded in getting all the smokers turfed outside, you selfish, joyless bastards. The second scenario is if it’s a still day and the smoke goes straight up in the air, in which case you need literally to be hovering over the poor sod and deserve everything you get.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO BAN ANYTHING ELSE, GOT IT?

Honestly, if smoking’s that bad just do what Bhutan did and fucking ban it. Not all these half hearted bans that add up to making life difficult, but actually say that from whatever date smoking or possession of tobacco will no longer be legal. Come on, what have you got to lose? A few billion dollars in tax revenue? Well you’re losing increasing amounts to illegal tobacco anyway, and besides isn’t this supposed to be about saving people? So, an outright ban then? Criminalisation, who’s for it?

Anyone?

Fuck me, it’s gone quiet all of a sudden. Apart from some Tasmaniacs this isn’t a high priority. The thing is, and I’ve said this many times, governments are far more addicted to the revenue than any smoker ever was to nicotine. And Quit, A$H and the various health departments, would they really like it banned? One or two of the less unreasonable ones might say that they wouldn’t go that far because they’re not about taking away people’s right to choose, but I suspect that deep down many of the most foam-mouthed of them wouldn’t either. Smoking is their raison d’être, a cause to stoke their self righteous little fires (smokeless, natch) and a whipping boy without which they have no power. Come on, they’d miss the pontificating on what everyone else must do. Instead they’ve whipped up such a storm of fagophobia that they’ve successfully inserted themselves and their tedious little authoritarian wank fantasies into ever increasing facets of everyone else’s private lives. They have set themselves to rule over private businesses, public transport, indoor areas and now outdoor areas. They’ve gone after people who smoke as well as the act of smoking, and have expressed a desire to ban it in private homes just like they’ve begun to in private cars. And do you know who’s lead they’re following? Can you guess the first group to advocate banning smoking in cars?

Yep, the fucking Nazis.*

They came first for the smokers, and I did not speak because I wasn’t a smoker
Then they came for the drinkers, and I remained silent because I did not drink
And then they came for the salad dodgers, and said nothing because I quite like a plate of greens

When they finally came for me there was no one left to speak up.

Can you hear the marching boots? Can you? I can hear them from where I am because Australia seems determined to win at least The Fag Ashes, especially as Britain is pulling ahead on points units on bashing drinkers. But if like me you don’t smoke or drink and can’t hear the boots yet, no worries. You’ll be probably be able to hear them soon enough, and that it’s not about killing us so much as controlling us really shouldn’t be any comfort at all.

* I know just about enough to work out that that poster isn’t actually about banning smoking in cars but I’m not sure what it does say. Seems to be something about how many millions of Reichmarks it was costing the Germans but if you can translate it properly please leave it in the comments and I’ll tack it on the end of the post. 

The latest EU harmonisation in Britain?

Click to article

Quite a way behind the spectacular embarrassment (if only they were fucking embarrassed by it) of the EU not having it’s books signed off since… actually, have they ever been signed? Anyway, the big concern for the British public is that so little changed as a result of the expenses scandal, because it is once again MPs’ expenses and their attitude to them that’s causing difficulties.

In a highly embarrassing move Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office (NAO), found that the Commons authorities had failed to obtain receipts to justify £2.6 million in claims.
Another £11.3 million of expenditure had been incurred on items which the House could not prove was necessary for parliamentary purposes.

14 million fucking quid? Jesus wept. Meet the new boss, same as the… oh bollocks to it, we all know the fucking song by now. £14 million between 646 of them just beggars belief. If you had a firm with 646 employees and within one financial year they submitted £14 mill worth of expenses claims that they either could not substantiate or justify or both your options would be as follows:

  1. Refuse to pay up until they found invoices and good reasons for the claims.
  2. Eventually go bust because they’ll carry on taking the piss.
  3. Er… no, that’s it.

And sure enough when put under a bit of pressure:

The gaps in the accounts were so serious that the NAO launched a full audit of Commons’ allowances, after which MPs still failed to provide £800,000 of receipts.

Okay, so when put to it suddenly receipts and invoices started turning up after all, but why weren’t they submitted in the first place? Surely after all the bad press they couldn’t still have believed they didn’t need to, so was it just laziness? Did they just decide they couldn’t be arsed, or what? And of course only about two thirds of the receipts showed up, which does raise a few questions over the remainder. On top of that none of that sounds like it accounts for a penny of the £11.3 mill that could not satisfactorily be shown to be necessary for parliamentary purposes. Fuck me, no wonder the auditor didn’t want to put his name on it.

And here’s the kicker, the evidence that even after the expenses scandal blew up and made headlines worldwide, exposing the egregious, nest-feathering, over-compensated, nest feathering pricks that so many of them are, even after it forced some shamed faces and some pretence at being shame-faced for the TV cameras, even after (or maybe because) a large number agreed to stand down at the election the fucking troughing still continued!

MPs submitted the claims during the 2009 / 2010 financial year, mostly after The Daily Telegraph’s exposure of widespread abuses of the expenses system.
Insiders suggested that many MPs from the “rotten Parliament” who stood down at the general election in May went on a “last hurrah” with their expenses, submitting unjustified claims which were not picked up on by the Commons fees office.

You cunts! When will you learn? When will the message sink in?

 It’s not your fucking money!

‘Kinell!

Bonjour et bienvenue aux Jeux Olympiques 2012 de Londres.

Via Captain Ranty I see the 2012 Olympic Games – you know, the Games that Paris lost out on to London – are going to be held in French.

French is the first language of the International Olympic Committee and as such that means that it must take precedence at all Olympic ceremonies including when medals are being handed out.
The presentations will also take place in English but any statement in English “should be read after the French”.
All “billboards and pageantry” must also be in French, with English relegated to a second language for the duration of the Games.

They’re fucking smart, the French, aren’t they? Not having to pay a red cent towards the insane cost of hosting the event and they still get their language given preference.

Now in fairness to the International Olympic C… er, what does the C stand for anyway? Probably not the first thing that sprung to my mind. Anyway, in fairness thinking back to the Beijing Games I do seem to recall that everything was said in French first and then a Chinese language, presumably Mandarin, afterwards. Doesn’t make any sense since there are more Chinese speakers than speakers of anything else, and it seems to me that geographically both Spanish and English have a better claim to, ah, lingua franca status than French does these days. And if it’s an Olympic tradition surely Greek should take precedence, even though there are only about 12 million people in Greece and half of them may need to eat their TVs before 2012.

The Union Jack should only be flown fifth in precedence behind the Olympic flag, the London 2012 symbol, the United Nations flag and the flag of Greece.

See? The Greek flag comes before the Union Jack Flag (note to the media, please look up the fucking difference), and because of the history of the Games in ancient times I don’t have a huge issue with that. Certainly not compared to the UN and EU rags being even high up the pecking order.

Anyhow, French first is clearly what the London bid team signed everyone up for, presumably as a nod to the French Baron Pierre de Coubertin (how come he was a baron? I thought they’d executed or exiled all their aristos decades earlier). And if that’s in the contract there’s probably nothing thatt can be done about it, not even my suggestion of saying:

Voici votre facture de eleventy billion fucking quid, M. Johhny Frog. Parler en francais all you please, me old china, but only once you’ve coughed up, eh?

But that’s really by the by. As Witterings From Witney points out in the comments over at Ranty’s, the real question is why it took two years of battering the bastards with the Freedom of Information Act before this came out. Or why they didn’t feel able to be open about it and say this in front of all the flag waving crowds five and a half years ago when there was still a chance for Britons to demand the bid be withdrawn.

I wonder… could there have been money in it, or am I just becoming a cynical old bugger?

Equality before the Law.

Not applicable for men.

The Government has abandoned its pledge to grant anonymity to men charged with rape in England and Wales.

It was one of those many pledges which I had little hope for, particularly as the voices decrying the low rate of conviction for rape are pretty loud. To politicians they probably seem even louder when they’re in government than they did in opposition.

Justice Minister Crispin Blunt said there was not sufficient evidence to justify the move.
The decision to scrap the proposal, which was included in the Government’s coalition agreement in May, follows criticism from women’s groups.

Told ya.

Mr Blunt said: “The Coalition Government made it clear from the outset that it would proceed with defendant anonymity in rape cases only if the evidence justifying it was clear and sound, and in the absence of any such finding it has reached the conclusion that the proposal does not stand on its merits.
“It will not, therefore, be proceeded with further.”
He went on: “The assessment has found insufficient reliable empirical evidence on which to base an informed decision on the value of providing anonymity to rape defendants.

Never mind the wittering about evidence and fucking value. What about the very real damage that spurious accusations can and do have on innocent men – the unlucky ones who are convicted or remanded occasionally becoming prison rape victims themselves – simply because, like any other criminal case, the accused is routinely identified but uniquely the accuser always has anonymity if desired?

“Evidence is lacking in a number of key areas, in particular, whether the inability to publicise a person’s identity will prevent further witnesses to a known offence from coming forward…”

I suspect there’s also a lack of evidence as to whether the inability to publicise the accuser’s identity will prevent potential defence witnesses coming forward. What if an accuser has made false claims which are known to associates but, because of an unwise decision to point the finger at someone with a ready and rock solid alibi that was known to all, never went as far as any police involvement? Those people might volunteer that information to the defence but for the fact they have no idea the case they’re reading about in the papers involves the same person. Worse, the continued anonymity post conviction means that they might never become aware of it, thus preventing the information from surfacing on appeal as well.

Has this actually happened? No idea, and I’m not suggesting it. But it’s a possibility, just as is the possibility that prosecution witnesses might not come forward if defendants have anonymity, and not only am I confident that the evidence is lacking here too I doubt there’s been much effort even to look into it. We wouldn’t dream of using that as a justification for scrapping the anonymity of accusers, so why is it a barrier for defendants, who are innocent until proven guilty, from being anonymous until/unless convicted?

But the lamest argument of all is this:

“… or further unknown offences by the same person from coming to light.”

Utter bollocks. Seriously, a ten year old could spot the colossal fucking flaw in this line of reasoning, and it’s really a bit of a concern that the fucking Justice Secretary has missed it. But for Crispen Blunt here it is, avoiding long words as best I can:

If people in jury box say man in dock is bad man then man with wig on bench wave hammer and say you go prison you bad man and no more anonymity* for you, we tell all other people who you are. Then if bad man has been bad man to other people before now they no who he is and that he bad man, and they see in paper and TV and they go police and say what bad man did. And then you drag the fucker’s arse out of his prison cell and put him before another court.

D’you see, Crispen? Nobody is suggesting anonymity should stay after someone is convicted, which means that further unknown offences most certainly can come to light. Just not during the original trial, that’s all, and since UK courts consider it so important that the jury decides the verdict on the evidence before it that previous convictions are generally excluded until after the verdict is reached I’d expect further offences to be tried separately anyway. In short, anonymity up to conviction will probably make absolutely no difference to the chance of other offences coming to light.

But in all likelihood neither Crispen nor the Justice Department are really that stupid and this will have occurred to them already, but that’s irrelevant because it’s not the real reason for going back on the anonymity pledge. When the reasons given are so ridiculous I simply can’t believe it’s much more than a lack of political will. That somewhere a decision was made: too many people will make waves if we do this so fuck it, let’s not bother.

Maybe it’s good news for rape victims, I don’t know. But I’m certain it’s bad news for two other groups. Obviously it’s bad news for any guy unlucky enough to be falsely accused, but I’d go further than that. It’s bad news for the whole of society when the law treats people differently according to nothing more than their chromosomes.

* Sorry Crispen, but I just couldn’t avoid that one.