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Can I just ask something?

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WHAT FUCKING CUTS?

That took its sweet time.

Finally! ID cards are at last dead and decently buried, despite the best efforts of some to hold things up by insisting that the 12,000 or so useful idiots and government hirelings* who bought one of the bloody things could have a refund. As I said in September, caveat emptor always applies whether it’s a crap first car that a young Exile bought against the advice of older and wiser heads or an ID card that always stood a better than evens chance of being abolished before long.

You had the option to not buy something from a relatively unpopular government being lead by a hugely unpopular mucus munching madman, something that the opposition parties made clear they would scrap if they got in, but in spite of that you went ahead. Too fucking bad. Am I going to get a refund on all that NI I paid if, as I expect, the UK state pension pot has gone tits up by the time I reach retirement age? No, I highly fucking doubt it too. Fucking thousands taking from me under threat of violence, fucking thousands. And you peck sniffing, blister palmed, pox ridden cockslots are whinging about your thirty fucking quid even though it cost the rest of the taxpayers twenty grand between them for that bit of plastic.

Fuck. You. All. Fuck you right in the face.

And well done, Cobbleition. Now… what the fuck’s going on with all the rest of that civil liberty stuff you were talking about?

* I can’t recall where I read it and can’t now find the link but I’m sure I saw somewhere that a large number of the ID cards issued had been to people who worked in the department issuing ID cards and other public sector employees.

They won’t stop and they won’t learn.

Depressing to be proved right.

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Far from crashing to a halt it seems like the gravy train just ran over a particularly noisy set of points. I mean, Christ, just look at it.

A list of 1,574 claims, rejected by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) in the space of five months, shows that politicians have attempted to claim back money for their mortgage repayments, first-class travel and excessive hospitality.
The document, obtained by The Times newspaper, which lists a total of rejected claims worth £116,359, also reveals how parliamentarians submitted duplicate claims and did not provide suitable documentary evidence to back up their claims.
One MP was refused £338 for a shredder, while another tried to claim £1,057 for advertising. A third asked for £1,085 for ”contingencies”.

No receipts and duplicate claims? They’ve learnt nothing, have they? Not a fucking thing. And £338 for a shredder? The one we use was about 100 bucks so I’d have thought £338 would buy one of those heavy duty monsters with a massive bin. Fuck me, how much incriminating evidence was he trying to destroy? As for “contingencies” if the MP can’t be specific then they should absolutely be knocked back. That at least is the plus side to this story.

All claims, which were submitted between May and September this year, were refused by Ipsa – the body set up to administer MPs expense claims.

Bloody right too, but…

The unsuccessful claims amounted to 7% of the total submitted by MPs during the period.

I realise this is an over simplification but 7% of the House is 45 MPs, so we’re probably not talking one or two here. And the news gets worse.

The identity of the MPs who wrongly claimed the items will remain secret following an agreement made in the summer with the independent watchdog and receipts will also not be published with overall claims.

So we’ve no idea if this is old troughers that managed to avoid the worst of the fallout last time, hang on to their seats, and take up more or less where they left off, or if some of the new intake have joined in. Nor do we get to see the receipts – again.

Not. Fucking. Acceptable.

The gravy train’s penultimate stop.

For Messrs troughers Chaytor, Devine and Morley the gravy train’s last but one stop seems to have been the Supreme Court, which told them that falsifying expenses is not protected by Parliamentary privilege. The end of the line can’t come soon enough for them and it’s only a shame that more of the fellow troughers aren’t having to justify their greed to jurors as well.

All change, bastards.

Vodafone advert.

http://eyetube.me/misc/flash/VidiScript_player.swf

Some of the Grumpy Old Twat’s work.

It’s me entitlement, innit?

No it fucking isn’t, you self obsessed, lazy, vacuous, over entitled bitch. I’ve been wanting to blog this but I’m so furious every time I think of you, your smug face, and your apparent lack of any feelings of guilt or empathy towards those being robbed by the state to give you toys and computers for your children, the Mediterranean holidays and, quite incredibly, fucking breast enhancement surgery of all things – much of which is beyond financial reach of many working people being taxed to fucking support you – that red mist has descended and coherence rapidly lost. Still does, in fact, so to avoid leaving further bite marks in my keyboard I’m going to quote en bloc Trooper Thompson, who has remained calm enough to write this:

I try to avoid the comforting rage provided by so many Daily Mail stories, featuring (and I know not why people chose to expose themselves to the public ire) the latest feckless woman and her brood of bastard children she believes are ‘entitled’ to all the good things in life at the expense of others, but it’s not easy.

It is clear that if you reward people for irresponsible behaviour, that is what you will get, and having five children by four different men is the height of irresponsibility. To what extent the policies that have led our society to this place were intentionally aimed at undermining the family is a matter for some debate. It is certainly the case that the Fabian intellectuals of the ‘progressive era’ saw families as the enemy. It was families that perpetuated all the human traits they held responsible for holding back progress to their promised land, and thus it was necessary to use education and social engineering to get hold of the next generation and inculcate the ‘right’ ideas. It is also true that this agenda has been helped along by legions of useful idiots and well-meaning philanthropists, unaware of the bigger picture.

The question is; what do we do about it? Taking it as essential to dramatically reduce the welfare state, we are left with the problem of all those hungry little bastards. It is no doubt true that their predicament is not their fault. Neither is it the fault of the average tax-payer, who has heretofore been expected to pick up the tab. At a higher level, without doubt it lies with the social engineers who purposefully and patiently undermined our society, but the fault lies immediately with the parents, primarily the mothers – the fathers also, whoever the fuck they are. The only way we can reduce this problem humanely – and I will not countenance enforced sterility, or other state-imposed limits on fertility, for this is surely worse than the present situation – is to hold people responsible for their actions, and kill the entitlement culture once and for all.

Within any such root-and-branch reform, there must be a separation of those that have paid in and those that have never done so. There may need to be a prolonged period of adjustment, so the welfare junkies can adapt to their new circumstances (welcome to the real world), but whatever happens, we cannot as a society afford to keep rewarding people for their irresponsibility, for one because it is immoral to take tax money from other people who are more responsible, and for two because our society will collapse without the family.

Quite. Fecundity as a career option has got to stop.

The new Untermenschen – UPDATED

They’re everywhere, the new Untermenschen. You probably know several yourself. A smoker or two, obviously, that goes without saying. And drinkers too, of course, and people who put extra salt on their chips, and in fact people who like chips in the first place unless they’re pretty stringent about hitting the gym and working them back off again. Yes, we all know that in the Ninth Circle of Hell Judas Iscariot will be smoking, drinking and tucking into over salted so-called junk food without taking any exercise, but the criteria for being among the new Untermenschen doesn’t end with simple personal lifestyle choices that don’t fit in with the Strength Through Joy-ism of the state and it’s nannies. Oh no. If you don’t commit to the new state religion as well, even if you do actually believe in it, then you too are an Untermensch.

And so you should be killed, preferably as graphically as possible pour encourager les autres.

+++UPDATE+++

At this point I had embedded the original movie from YouTube but thanks to microdave in the comments I see this morning that the backlash has grown during the night and the vid has now been taken down. However, they’ve just been reminded that once anything hits the interwebs it’s probably there for good, and so it has proved. There are dozens on YouTube and they’re probably going up faster than they can be taken down, and even if that dies down it still won’t have gone since microdave snagged a copy to stick on EyeTube and which I’m using to replace the defunct YouTube one.

Great work, Dave. They’ll have a hard time getting this genie back in the bottle.

http://eyetube.me/misc/flash/VidiScript_player.swf

Your choice. You don’t have to join in. No pressure… BLAM

No pressure – because not joining in makes your continued existence unnecessary. You are, you see, entirely disposable. Even that bird who used to be in the X-Files can be disposed of, her contribution deemed insufficient to allow her life to continue. She believed enough to do the voiceover but didn’t plan to join in the rituals, and that won’t do because it’s not just your belief the Gaists demand. It’s your unswerving obedience. Failure deserves death, instant and very, very bloody death. They’re not actually killing anyone yet, but it’s getting pretty obvious how they feel about anyone not singing from their hymn book.

And of course it’s not just them because the anti-smoke, anti-drink, anti-meat, anti-fat, anti-personal choice mobs think no more of you than do the Gaiasts. Very soon we will all be Untermenschen in the eyes of somebody, if we’re not already. We can choose to stand up now and say, ‘Enough.’ Or we can wait for one of them to give us our final order:

“Stand by the wall, you fucking scum!”

H/T WUWT.

MSM vs Blogosphere – UPDATED

Big news in The Australian today, although apparently of no interest to anyone else in the media apart from the ABC, is the outing of Australian political blogger Grog’s Gamut as a federal civil servant by a certain national newspaper whose two word title consists of the definite article and an adjective meaning ‘relating to Australia’.* Cue arguments and a Twitterstorm, which I can’t follow because I don’t twat, about why was it done, whether The Australian and it’s journo should have done it, and whether there’s a right to anonymity. For what it’s worth my I feel the answers are who cares, probably not and unfortunately not.

Firstly, the matter of why. There seems to be some suggestion that Grog’s Gamut was critical of the MSM during the election and this was a revenge outing, though if so it’s anyone’s guess why it was left so long when the journalist, James Massola, has apparently known the identity for months. Massola sort of gave his reasons for the outing in his piece and Grog’s Gamut argued why he thought it was bollocks in his blog, and frankly his reasoning seems more convincing to me. That leads on to the second point which is whether Massola should have written it and whether The Aussie should have published it, and while they may be feeling all satisfied and self-righteous about it I can’t see what purpose it served. I now know the name of someone whose blog I was aware of but didn’t read much, big whoop! From his blog it’s not hard to guess that politically he leans towards Labor but does the fact that he’s a public servant blogging bother me? Not remotely. He may have kept his identity to himself but he didn’t hide the fact he’s a public servant, and that’s good enough disclosure for me. I can’t see any wider public interest or any purpose at all in outing the guy except shit stirring with the expectation that he’ll at least be made to feel uncomfortable, could get into trouble at work and might even have to stop blogging (remember NightJack’s outing by The Times, perhaps coincidentally a Murdoch publication like The Aussie). At the very least they can expect that people he comes into contact with at work will now know he blogs and will be careful to watch what they say around him, limiting any potential he has to whistleblow something of great public interests he might have learned in the future since everyone in Canberra is now on notice: be very careful what you say around that guy, he’s Grog’s Gamut. If anything I’d have said there’s a wider public interest in not exposing the names of political bloggers in his position, and a more narrow self interest for the MSM. Sure, if he ever did get anything really juicy he’d have blogged it first and told you lot later, if at all, but you would still have got something to print out of it. Now it’s highly unlikely he ever will if a minister was snorting coke in his office off the top of his secretary’s naked arse while being pleasured under the desk by a Russian dwarf in a koala outfit any chance of him learning and blogging that is gone, and for all we know nobody else will ever find out. Yes, of course Grog’s Gamut may never have broken anything big, but for the sake of a very minor news story now, and who knows, maybe revenge for Grog’s Gamut bagging the MSM during the election, Massola and The Ocker have virtually made sure of it. So, no, probably not a good idea in the long term and I feel it’s not a good look for a national publication owned by an international corporation to bully a solitary anonymous blogger and take away the thing that made him comfortable and confident blogging. You may have every right, fellas, but it’s pretty unedifying behaviour.

And that leads me on to the third part: whether there’s any right to anonymity. As an anonymous no-one blogging under a pseudonym myself (though lacking sources or contacts all I ever do is slip in the occasional original thought among my editorialising and bitching about things) I’d like there to be even though I really have little to lose but face. The Angry Exile is a much lairier swearier version of me that doesn’t get let out in real life since it can’t be trusted in polite company and I’d be a bit red faced if he somehow escaped the confines of the interwebs, but the uncomfortable facts are that there isn’t and can’t be any guaranteed right to privacy. There may be some whose blog content has a wider public interest than their identity and who might deserve protection if they’d be silenced otherwise, but generally ff a blogger has the right to dig around and blow whistles then others must also have the right to do the same to them. If your pseudonym is just a bit of fun and you actually publish your name anyway then you’re pretty fireproof, and if you’ve gone to great lengths to protect your identity or if outing you is even less newsworthy than it was Grog’s Gamut then you may be pretty confident too. But there really can’t be legal protection that doesn’t restrict someone else’s free speech, and as I’ve said several times before, free speech is an absolute and any restriction at all means it’s simply not free. You’d think that if we want to remain anonymous the best bet is probably to be too valuable to unmask or conversely not worth unmasking, but NightJack and Grog’s Gamut are probably in the first category but were outed anyway.

The lesson is that those of us who blog anonymously and want to carry one doing so probably ought to be careful what we say and to whom, both on line and off, and whether it’s worth taking further steps to keep identities secret. But there’s one further thing that can be done, and that’s to punish those sections of the MSM that out a blogger for no good reason by voting with your wallet. Don’t buy their print editions without them putting a gun in your face, don’t pay a cent to see any content they put behind a paywall (yes, Times and outer of NightJack, I do mean you fuckers) and use RSS to get at their content rather than browsing through their site and giving the bastards the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve at least looked at the ads. I do prefer The Australian and News Corp rags to the Fairfax papers like The Age, even though both sets have agendas and political alignments that in different ways aren’t my own (is there such a thing anywhere as a libertarian newspaper?), and I do actually buy it from time to time. But if they’re going to out bloggers for no obvious newsworthy reason then fuck ’em, that’s stopping as of today.

UPDATE – elsewhere other bloggers are simply leant on by the powers that be. The game, folks, seems to be that of cat and mouse – the cat has the right to try to find the mouse, the mouse has the right – and the need – to try as hard as they can to evade the cat. With that in mind if anyone asks you I’m Angus Exfile.

* I see no need to name him too – both the link to The Aussie and ABC as well as his own blog, at least the most recent post, have his name.

A Righteous frenzy.

Following on from last night’s piece about anti-tobacco zealots comparing smoking with the September 11th attacks (see post before last), this afternoon I read an interesting article in The Age in which a public figure is slammed for not being on message when it comes to ruling over other people’s bodies. The frenzy of the Righteous getting in there to tear off a piece of the poor sod is depressingly predictable.

LORD Mayor Robert Doyle has caused a storm by suggesting there is no evidence passive smoking causes lung cancer.

Cr Doyle, who is also chairman of Melbourne Health, told 774 ABC Radio: “I don’t know of a case of cancer that has been caused by passive smoking.”

So not just a public figure but also one who chairs a local health service, and worldwide that industry is just stuffed with people addicted to lecturing other people about what they do with their own bodies. Melbourne Health is no exception, as we shall see.

When told there has been, he said: “Have there? Really? I don’t know of one. I am happy to be corrected.”

Good for him, though he could have gone further and more overtly called their bluff simply by asking for one example of a death certificate, just one and from anywhere at all, that listed passive smoking as cause of death. Yes, I know they’re only talking about incidences of cancer but the implication is clear. And so, when you read on, is the bullshit (my emphasis).

The chairman of lung service at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Associate Professor David Ball, said no one knows the point at which tobacco smoke becomes safe.

From which we can infer that no one knows the point at which tobacco smoke becomes dangerous either, though naturally Professor Bell assumes, despite the tacit admission that he doesn’t actually know, that it’s anything greater than zero (again, my emphasis).

Professor Ball, who has worked at Peter MacCallum for more than 30 years, said: “The most sensible advice I would give to people is to avoid tobacco smoke altogether.

“We know that about 10 per cent of people who are lung cancer sufferers have never smoked, so the cause of their cancer is unclear

From which we can infer that the cause of cancer in the remaining 90% who have smoked or do smoke is considered clear.

…and it would not be unreasonable to conclude that some of those people may have caught it from the cancer-producing substance in tobacco smoke that they may have been exposed to, either through their contact with relatives or close family members.”

Which translates as “we don’t know why they got cancer, but we’re assuming that a smoking related cause must be present for some of them”. From this we can infer that there is no identifiable cause at all for the others who may not have been exposed to blahblahblah.

However, the important point is that there is no practical difference between cases where there may have been smoke exposure and cases where there may not because in all cases, to use the professor’s words, the cause is unclear because they have never smoked. From this we can infer, as Leg-iron frequently points out, that medics tend not to look for any other cause once it has been determined that the patient has ever smoked. Breathing radon, if we choose to take the good professor’s claims at face value, is apparently harmless after all. At least he doesn’t consider it worth a mention despite being, according to Wikipedia (with all that implies),

… responsible for the majority of the mean public exposure to ionizing radiation.

And…

Radon emanates naturally from the ground and from some building materials all over the world, wherever traces of uranium or thorium can be found, and particularly in regions with soils containing granite or shale, which have a higher concentration of uranium.

Presumably this is because both uranium and thorium are radioactive and radon isotopes are in both thier respective decay chains. And does Australia have much in the way of uranium and thorium? Oooh yes. Lots of both, and by extension presumably a fair bit of radon along with it. Granite? Sure, we’ve got tourist landmarks made of the bloody stuff? Shale? Not so sure about that but I think some of the domestic gas production comes from shale rock.

Anyway, all that’s irrelevant because tobacco is determined to be the cause for 90% of lung cancer as well as an unspecified, though implicitly significant, proportion of the remaining 10%. This might change in future if anyone works out how to sue a rock or ban certain types of geology.

Professor Ball supported banning smoking in outdoor dining areas.

Who’d a thunk it?

And of course he wasn’t the only one getting cross with Cllr Doyle over his failure to toe the line on smoking. Aaaaaaaand… cue rent seekers!

Mike Daube, professor of health policy at Curtin University and president of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health, said: “There is very clear evidence on passive smoking and lung cancer. ..”

But not in the form of death certificates, obviously.

“The lord mayor should be ashamed of himself for making a comment like that. It sounds to me very ill-informed and irresponsible.”

It sounds impartial and perfectly responsible to me. If he is ill-informed perhaps that’s because nobody can inform him of the name of a single person who has cancer or who has died and where all factors, e.g. possible presence of radon, were considered but eventually passive smoking was positively identified – as distinct from ‘assumed to be in the absence of any other ideas’ – as the cause. Go on, name one. Cllr Doyle has said he’s happy to be corrected, and I think most pro-choice people are the same. We’re all just waiting on the name.

Quit Victoria executive director Fiona Sharkie said: “Exposure to second-hand smoke is a cause of cancer.”

She said the evidence was “incredibly well documented”.

Providing you’re not expecting to see it on an actual death certificate, in which case it’s not documented at all. Again, name one, just one, case in which all possible causes were considered but exposure to second hand smoke was positively identified as the cause. Just one case.

The thing is you can’t can you? And neither can the guy from Council on Smoking and Health (CoSH? – it feels appropriate somehow). Not if Professor Ball, himself a zilion miles from being pro-choice, is to be believed.

“Given that Robert Doyle is the chair of Melbourne Health, which includes the Royal Melbourne Hospital, he has probably got many doctors there he could check it with,” she said.

Why? He already knows what they’ll say. We all do. But can any of them point at a single death that has been positively and indisputably caused by passive smoking? Or is it the usual assertions of vast numbers simply on the grounds that, well, what else could it be (forgetting that nobody’s actually looking for any other cause, natch).

Since it’s all laced throughout with caveats and the usual weasel words ‘may’, ‘could’, ‘potentially’, ‘some’ and so on, whoring themselves on behalf of people who believe their assumptions are correct but can’t bring themselves to say openly how much is still assumed, I wouldn’t be surprised if the first certain passive smoking related death is actually some poor bastard getting murdered for lighting up by an outraged non-smoker who’s simply retaliating in unjustified fear – whipped up by the antis – for their own life. They’d probably get off too. The way things are going murdering untermenschen like smokers will be seen by some as a public service. Ordering the poor sods around is already fine, and, as Cllr Doyle has found, failing to support more and more oppression of smokers makes you nearly as bad as them in the eyes of the Righteous.

Just say ‘no’.

‘No’, that is, to people hopelessly addicted to bossing everyone else around

If she’s sensitive to smoke what’s she fucking doing in here?

Yeah, I’m with you there, Billy, and judging by the round of applause you got so were the audience. Now that’s a good sign and I’d like to think they would all be prepared to say ‘no’ as well, or if non-smokers at least ‘let him smoke it, nobody’s keeping you here’.

But I wonder if you can go back to that same Four Seasons hotel and enjoy a cigar in the bar now, or if the fat bitch won in the end.

Good.

Via Bill Sticker and others, the joyful news that some irate Irish people have thrown eggs at Tony Blair.

Personally I think they missed a trick by throwing eggs in their shells. They should have thrown them in the fucking frying pans.

Fry The Flag.

Jeez, what is it with BA? Did Willie Walsh do something really evil in a previous life or something? Or is Unite so determined to get its way (for the members of course, brothers and sisters) that actual destruction of the airline as a going concern is acceptable? I ask only because the fucking maniacs are going to go on strike again, and this time they intend to fuck up everybody who’ll be relying on flying BA to spend Christmas with family.

British Airways passengers are facing the threat of a wave of fresh strikes at Christmas as union hardliners moved to escalate the long-running cabin crew dispute.

I’m sure all the extra time they’ll get to spend getting wasted and playing naked Twister won’t have crossed their minds, though if that was the main reason it’d actually make more sense than this lunacy.

A row over allegations of bullying during the 22 days of strikes earlier in the year is threatening to derail peace talks between the airline and the trade union, Unite.
It has led to the suspension of more than 80 BA cabin crew. Another 13 have been sacked during the bitter dispute which has cost the airline an estimated £150 million this year.

£150 million, got that? And remember that BA’s been losing money hand over fist anyway – £164 million in the three months to June alone, partly because some weathermen insisted that Gordon Brown close down the sky, and in the year before that more than half a billion pounds.

The disciplinary action and the withdrawal of the travel perk from those who took part in the strikes earlier in the year have emerged as the sticking points preventing a deal being reached.
In an email to 12,000 Unite members Tony Woodley, the union’s joint general secretary, warned that a fresh strike ballot was an option.
But while Mr Woodley is understood to be reluctant to call a ballot immediately, he faces pressure to do so from the cabin crew branch – the British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association (BASSA).

Just goes to show that it’s not always the madmen in charge of the unions who seem to have a kamikaze fixation on beating the company fat cats at the cost of their members jobs, the wages that those jobs bring in, and the portion of those wages that go to the unions in subscriptions. I wonder if Woodley has a matador’s eye view of the wounds the BA bull is carrying – not all inflicted by the union, it must be said – and has realised that the crowd’s demands to inflict more will eventually lead to him and them having to go home forever.

Duncan Holley, BASSA’s branch secretary said: “We are looking for the green light for a strike ballot next week, which would encompass the Christmas period and there is every likelihood we will be out then.
“It would be prudent for the travelling public to take this into account and make alternative arrangements to ensure their holiday travel plans are not wrecked.”

Thanks for the heads up, Duncs, though being both sane and having had the delights of flying BA and being treated by some of your members as if we passengers were an obstruction to the running of their aircraft, I’d always plan not to fly BA anyway. However, I’m sure that what remains of your regular customers are very grateful for the advance warning to find another carrier, and maybe some of them will be stupid enough to go back to you once the strike is over. Oh, and can I just mention at this point that you’re a cunt?

“What we are trying to do is give people plenty of notice this time round. We are also trying to put pressure on BA by hitting their bookings during one of the busiest times of the year.”

This would be the BA that has lost £695 million at the last count, so taking a guesstimate that the last couple of months have been much the same probably in the region of three quarters of a fucking billion pounds in about 18 months. You’re putting pressure on its fucking windpipe, Duncan.

A BA spokesman said: “Mercy, please, have mercy.”

Sorry, no he didn’t really, and since the union seems determined to destroy the company anyway it probably would have been a waste of breath if he had. Actually, the spokesman (my emphasis)…

… defended the airline’s handling of the dispute.
“We remain available for talks and believe that we have made a good and fair offer to cabin crew. Non-union cabin crew have signed up for the deal in large numbers.”

Possibly he would say that anyway, but perhaps some of the non-union staff have a more realistic outlook and recognise that bankrupting the company just means everyone is out of work.

Do I really care about this? To be honest, no. As I said briefly above and at greater length a few weeks back I found nothing to recommend about either of my experiences with flying BA, and those were just short haul trips in western Europe. The thought of flying from here back to the UK would be enough to make me think of getting off the plane while it’s airborne, so better not to book with them in the first place.* Frankly it might be better to let the union win and allow BA to go to the wall. I mean, does a country really need a ‘national carrier’ anyway, especially one that keeps striking? It might have been
a source of some national pride while it still operated the fastest, and for my money, the most stunning looking aircraft ever made** but without that it’s just a collection of Boeings and Airbuses that sometimes can’t fly because the cabin crew refuse to come in. Letting BA die would be a wake up call to everyone else who thinks it sensible to demand more and more from a company that is less and less able to afford it, and while the maniacs who played brinkmanship and won will probably be left scratching their heads and blaming everyone else the good staff will find other work. And Unite will be able to claim the fullest and most final victory any union has ever scored over an employer – let’s see ’em come back from that one, eh, brothers and sist…

… er … hello? Brothers? Anyone there?

* For what it’s worth my first choice for Oz-UK flights would be Singapore, closely followed by Malaysia. Qantas are pretty good too but since they code share with BA, or so I believe, you run the risk of being greeted not by tanned Aussie blondes who are all smiles and chattiness and might be amenable to some light sex in the toilets if you’re Ralph Fiennes, but by the over made up, vinegar-faced women with Croydon facelifts that were on my last flight with BA who seemed far more likely to say ‘fuck you’ than fuck you, no matter who you are. There are no doubt some great cabin crew in BA but not on those two flights. No, I didn’t complain. It was expensed and I felt it far easier to fly with anyone but BA when spending my own money.
** Some of which are now treated like shit, incidentally.

Incandescent.

For some people every concession granted to them and every victory they score is never enough, and this is particularly true of the Righteous. Well before the smoking bans, which aren’t bans so much as restrictions on the use of private property, they got tobacco ads progressively removed from TV. Then it was the print media and hoardings, and then overt sports sponsorship. And when they’d achieved an almost total ban on any promotion of a product that is perfectly legal to own, use and sell they started looking at the loopholes. Nothing less than total victory would do for them, or they might have felt somewhat disheartened as they turned their attention to drinking and eating. So where logos were still allowed in place of actual brand names they demanded that this too must stop, thereby making certain transactions between one particular type of business and any others illegal – a bank can write a cheque to a racing team to get its logo on the side of the cars, but the same transaction by a tobacco firm became illegal. Smoking in films and TV programmes, where logos are usually hard to make out and often entirely fictional anyway, has almost gone and still they are not satisfied. Evidence of smoking in art and well known photos has been going down the memory holes lately, and now they’re concerned about smoking on the internet.

The tobacco industry may be using websites such as YouTube to get around a ban on advertising cigarettes, a study says.

Note the important word there: ‘may’.

Researchers in New Zealand studied the video-sharing site and found a number of pro-tobacco videos “consistent with indirect marketing activity by tobacco companies or their proxies”.

They say governments should consider regulating such content on the net.

As if the fuckers aren’t tumescent with eagerness to do that anyway.

Tobacco companies have always denied using the net to promote cigarettes.

Though why they shouldn’t be able to do so is beyond me. As I’ve said a zillion times before, either ban smoking and live without all that wonderful tax revenue that every fucking government in the world is addicted to – and to a much greater degree than any smoker is to nicotine – or leave the industry and their customers the fuck alone.

No, I don’t like the smell of cigarette smoke much either, but since my legs aren’t just fucking painted on I’m comfortable taking a step or two backwards and not making my smoking friends feel like shit. Why can’t the banstubators do that?

Amanda Sandford, research manager at anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) said the study’s findings were “disturbing but fairly typical of tobacco industry activity”.

Angry Exile, an expat blogger who cares deeply about personal freedom, said that ASH’s response is “disturbing but fairly typical of tobacco control obsessives and other authoritarian cock slots.”

“As soon as one avenue of promotion is closed, companies will seek out alternative means of promoting their product and will do anything to get round advertising restrictions,” she told BBC News.

“As soon as one avenue of free trade and individual liberty is closed, ASH and other bansturbators will seek out alternative means of restricting these legal products and will do anything to make smokers and tobacco firms look like scum,” he told anyone who’d listen. And that might even be being a little economical with the facts (my emphasis):

But Catherine Armstrong, a spokesperson for British American Tobacco, one of the firms studied in the report, said it was “not our policy to use social networking sites such as Facebook or YouTube to promote our tobacco product brands”.

“Not even the authors of this report claim we have done so,” she said. “Using social media could breach local advertising laws and our own International Marketing Standards, which apply to our companies worldwide.

So the study didn’t actually say they were using online media to advertise, but it seems to me that ASH want to try and make the connection in people’s heads anyway. They really are unbearable cunts.

And being unbearable cunts, this is especially for them.

Declaration of interest – I am not a smoker, having given up a few years ago. I have never worked for or received money from any tobacco firms. Quite the opposite in fact, since I gave them plenty of money when I did smoke. All the same, I’d rather their company than that of ASH and the other ban happy illiberal fucktroons that infest what used to be a free society.

PS – I should have fucking expected it. Quit smoking ads come up on the YouTube ads. Why can’t they… Just… Fuck… Off?

Why we pay tax.

Via Captain Ranty.

California or the US, Victoria or Australia, or anywhere in the UK, it’s the same story all over. We may agree with some or even many of the things our taxes are spent on but I find it hard to believe anyone agrees with all of it. The type of person who might support tax money being spent on the welfare state might oppose corporate bailouts or some of the pricier things in the defence budget, while their oppos would probably agree that the country’s defenders need the latest Blast-o-matic and helping corporations through rough patches, even if of their own making, is ultimately beneficial, but those layabouts get enough money from them already. Even in government departments and agencies you’ll have people who all agree with the principle of taxation but who will probably disagree quite often, and sometimes quite bitterly, about what should then be funded. There is probably nobody who agrees with every last penny a government spends, and if so then every taxpayer is to some extent paying their taxes not because they agree with how the money is spent but because they fear the reprisal of the government if they refuse.

Pay up or go to court. Do as the court says or be fined. Pay up or go to prison. And at all stages offer no resistance or men with guns will be sent to deal with you. Thank you for your cooperation, we look forward to seeing you again same time next year. Have the money ready or else.

Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs

Charidee.

Still on Australia but leaving election stuff – after one general election to choose between idiots already this year it didn’t take long before I was sick of this one – I was interested the other day to read about a controversy with AusAID, which I believe is the Australian version of the UK’s Department for International Development. It all sounded so terribly familiar.

Picture this. A government department hands out cash to community activist groups, who in turn use the money to run a campaign to pressure political parties to devote more money to the department.

Ooooh, yes, it’s definitely ringing bells.

At minimum, it seems to be a conflict of interest. Foolish, more like it. A betrayal of public trust even. But that’s exactly what Australia’s overseas aid agency, AusAID, has done.

I’d be appropriately scandalised if it wasn’t so often standard procedure in Britain.

Last October, AusAID made grants totalling $1.5 million to various local groups “to raise awareness about global poverty” – a noble sentiment, no doubt, in a world where the gap between rich and poor is an awful blight.

The recipients included Girl Guides Australia – $149,000 for a weekend workshop for 20 young women to learn about the targets set by world leaders in 2000 to tackle poverty and carry out advocacy in their local community. A Rotary Club on the central NSW coast got $27,000 to raise awareness about maternal health, one of the global targets known as the Millennium Development Goals.

But grants were also given in several guises to the campaign known as “Make Poverty History”. You might have seen the plastic wristbands people wear. This has been an immensely successful marketing exercise, particularly among young people, gathering in thousands of volunteers and financial donors.

And the No. 1 goal for Make Poverty History is to “accelerate growth in the aid program” – to push the government to devote a larger share of national income to foreign aid. In other words, boost the AusAID budget.

Just as anti drink or anti tobacco groups in Britain get money from the Department of Health to lobby the government and persuade it to ‘do something’ (usually for the chiiiiiildren), which invariably means the Department needs more money. It’s not just bureaucrats empire building and armour plating their jobs, it’s like an investment that can’t possibly fail, not least because they get to use the taxpayers’ money each and every time they do it.

AusAID made a $100,000 grant to the Oaktree Foundation to run a road trip for young people to be Make Poverty History “ambassadors” across the country. The trip took place over a week in early May, gathering signatures for a petition in cities and rural towns and putting on what it boasts are “media stunts” to get attention. Finally, they converged on Canberra, lobbying dozens of politicians over a breakfast.

The problem here isn’t the goal of increasing spending on aid – it’s the use of taxpayer funds to finance a campaign to pressure elected representatives.

Fucking Johnny Come Latelys. Don’t they know that Britain has dozens of fake charities who’ve been at this for years? I suppose it was only a matter of time before the same people here noticed what a nice little earner this kind of game is, assuming they haven’t been doing it for years as well. The only silver lining, and it’s a pretty tarnished silver lining, is that it’s clearly not just a British scam. To paraphrase the late Douglas Adams, foreign countries are like the past – they do things just the same there.