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Thanks to Kate Green everyone wants to get their hands on Top Totty

Just by having a public PC whinge about it she’s helped sell a lot of extra Top Totty beer.

Family-run Staffordshire brewer Slater’s revealed it has seen sales jump since one of its ales upset a MP Kate Green and attracted headlines around the world last week.
Slater’s sales director Fay Slater announced that the firm has been bombarded with phone calls and emails from landlords wanting to get their hands on barrels of Top Totty.
The welcome boost for the popular ale comes after the four per cent beer was removed from sale at the Strangers’ Bar, in the Houses of Parliament, after shadow equalities minister Ms Green said the pump clip, which features a half-naked lady, was offensive.
Now Slater’s says it has sold around 50 more barrels than it shifts in an average week, with around half a dozen pubs saying they want to start selling the controversial ale too.

Another pollie who’s knowledge of the Streisand Effect is sadly, or perhaps happily, lacking.

Your good health, Kate, and despite the po-faced wowser motive behind it congratulations on doing more for British business than the Prime Mentalist or that claymation figure leading your own party. May you do it again to something else you disapprove of very soon.

PETA jump the shark

Except it must of course be a free range shark rather than that poor thing in the cage that the Fonz jumped over, or so I’d assume from this.

A JUDGE for the first time in US history has heard arguments in a case that could determine whether animals enjoy the same constitutional protection against slavery as human beings.

US District Judge Jeffrey Miller called the hearing in San Diego after Sea World asked the court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that names five orcas as plaintiffs in the case.

Now I’m not a fan of orcas and dolphins in captivity and won’t pay a cent to go see them (and I have paid well to see them in the wild). If the orcas themselves had squeaked and clicked at a lawyer and sued Sea World I’d be barracking for them, but since the orcas are animals I just hope that people get over this kind of thing and Sea World gradually diminishes. They may be very bright animals but as with the iPad apps for cats thing the other day I think it’s anthropomorphising to go much further. Any being that’s clearly able to speak up for itself and complain that its rights are being infringed I’m on the side of, and ownership of such a being is slavery or something very much like it. But as far as I know the only such being is a human being, and even then not all of them qualify. Children need looking after while they are still children and while we don’t own our kids as such that can’t really be said to own themselves either.

Animals, even very bright ones, are a different story, but it’s a story that PETA seems not to have not heard.

“This case is on the next frontier of civil rights,” said PETA lawyer Jeffrey Kerr, representing the five orcas.

It’s on the next frontier of something, alright.

Sea World’s lawyer, Theodore Shaw, called the lawsuit a waste of the court’s time and resources. He said it defies common sense and goes against 125 years of case law applied to the American constitution’s 13th amendment, which prohibits slavery between humans.

As I’ve indicated, I’m not all that keen on supporting Sea World in keeping orcas but I think he may just have a bit of a point here. Look at what it says in the US Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

‘We the People’ not ‘We the People and Cetaceans’, and nor was anyone involved in drafting, signing and ratifying the Constitution a member of any species other than Homo sapiens. That’s not a one-off use: even before we get to the Bill of Rights ‘the People’ are mentioned again in Article 2 where it talks of membership of the House of Representatives, and even in California dolphins do not have the vote. In the Bill of Rights itself the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th, and 10th Amendments all explicitly refer to people (in the first person in the case of the 5th), the 3rd doesn’t but must as well because it relates to land ownership, and it can be inferred in the remaining three amendments since they relate to judicial proceedings such as excessive bail, impartial juries and so on, and you wouldn’t expect anyone to put a dolphin on trial. Later Amendments, such as the 14th which refers to citizenship and the rights and liberties that come with it, again refer to people and there’s no mention in the two that extend suffrage beyond the 19th Century ‘white guys only’ model refer only to race and sex respectively. ‘Species’ doesn’t get a mention because – duh – animals physically can’t vote anyway, and in fact both speak only of citizens so we’re back to the 14th and people again. In fact it seems so blindingly obvious that ‘duh’ could almost be the whole argument if lawyers weren’t all prolix bastards that put me to shame.

“With all due respect, the court does not have the authority to even consider this question,” Mr Shaw said, adding later: “Neither orcas nor any other animal were included in the ‘We the people’ … when the constitution was adopted.”

Quite, and probably as close as a lawyer can come to ‘Well, duh’.

The judge raised doubts a court could allow animals to be plaintiffs in a lawsuit, and questioned how far the implications of a favourable ruling could reach, pointing out the military’s use of dolphins and scientists’ experiments on whales in the wild.

Sounds like he’s trying to find a more official legalese version of ‘duh’ as well. Incidentally, I wouldn’t shed a tear if the military stopped using dolphins but I’d rather it was because of human ingenuity producing something that does the job better or, at a push, statute law forbidding it.

Mr Kerr acknowledged PETA faces an uphill battle but said he felt positive after Monday’s hearing.

“This is an historic day,” Mr Kerr said.

“For the first time in our nation’s history, a federal court heard arguments as to whether living, breathing, feeling beings have rights and can be enslaved simply because they happen to not have been born human. By any definition these orcas have been enslaved here.”

Big deal. You can go to court and argue that Elvis came from the stars and therefore his will was invalid and Gracelands should become public property, but that doesn’t mean you’re not talking bollocks. Bottom line, the Constitution is a document for and about human beings. Call that speciesist if you want, but that’s how it’s got to be unless you want to extend human rights and citizenship to non-humans, which might raise further problems for some of Sea World’s orcas.

Click for linky

A SeaWorld killer whale has snatched a trainer from a poolside platform, thrashing the woman about underwater in its jaws and killing her in front of a horrified audience.

It is the third time the animal, named Tilikum, has been involved in a human death.

[…]

A marine conservationist at the American Museum of Natural History believes the whale’s actions at SeaWorld were intentional.

Extending human rights to animals, even bright ones, cuts both ways. Humans have responsibilities as well as rights, top of which is the responsibility to other humans. Many of us fail to respect that and there are legal sanctions for those who do so. In much of the US, including in Florida where the Sea World trainer was killed, those sanctions include the death penalty. But of course nobody would consider an animal that’s killed a human is a murderer because they’re not human. Well, apart from PETA who seem to think you don’t have to be born human to have a human’s legal status.

I wouldn’t ascribe malice to it myself, but that’s not the point. If it was a human doing it there would be an investigation and, if appropriate, charges. If the orcas are to be treated as if they are humans then that must mean treating them exactly as if they’re human, in all respects.

And what else might this mean? Sea World could then be sued, probably into bankruptcy, for many years back pay for the orcas, who’d doubtless have another self appointed PETA lawyer insisting that they be recognised as employees in the entertainment industry. Which achieves what? The orcas physically can't open bank accounts so it'd need to be a cash lump sum, and the taxman will complain that it's wet when he comes to get his share. And because the pools are half full of banknotes Sea World, assuming it's still there, will get sued again for poor living conditions and again when one of the orcas dies from some $100 bills getting lodged in its blowhole. All because of a bone headed insistence of treating animals not simply with respect, but as actual people.

And why would it stop there? Other dolphin species are just as bright if not more so, which means they'd have to be treated the same way. And then there are dogs, some breeds of which can be pretty bright and are used as working dogs on farms and in police departments and so on – hey, you with the guide dog, you slaver bastard! It probably means every dog in the US that's been taught to fetch, and I'm sure PETA are fine with that too because they're on record as being opposed to domesticated animals including pets and livestock.* Bee keepers are fucked.

This opens a massive can of worms – except it mustn't because the worms have rights – as it has the potential to be extended to every other living thing. To me that should include fungi, soil microbes and plants, especially those that are grown with the express purpose of being cut down and exploited as a food source. Which is something I doubt all the vegans and veggies at PETA have considered or would agree with, but hey, exploitation is what it is and all life is related. If a dog is a rat is a pig is a boy then surely it's also a wheat plant and a tasty mushroom and a vegetarian sausage and case of strep throat – and how many microbes did you massacre in the shower this morning just so you could smell nicer, you genocidal bastard? All life consumes and exploits other life, PETA, and vegetarians are no exception even if they do self righteously refuse to eat anything even vaguely cute and start pouring piss about keeping animals being slavery.

That's taking PETA's arguments to extremes but ad absurdum or not I think it’s a fair point. This is about where you draw the line, and while most people are happy to draw it around our own species PETA want to draw it around the whole animal kingdom. The interesting thing is that I cannot believe they expect to succeed. I cannot believe that they expect to reach a point where having a few beehives is seen as being as bad as having fellow humans in chains working fields, and I doubt they really expect to persuade a federal court that the document which is the United States’ highest law and refers explicitly to people also includes a large species of dolphin whose last ancestor shared with us would have died many millions of years ago and wouldn’t have faintly resembled either of us.

In fact I suspect PETA expect to lose but hope to drum up a lot of publicity in the process, which is inevitable when you’re in a court arguing that a twelve tonne sea mammal that can rip a shark’s face right off is the same as you and I. Not worthy of respect or kindness, but the same. They’re going to lose but they’re going to gain PR out of it.

Hang on. Doesn’t that mean PETA are exploiting these beautiful creatures too? You utter bastards, PETA.

* They also advocate vegan diets for domestic cats despite all cat species being obligate carnivores. Their reasoning? Cats eat some plant matter. Hey, fuckwits, just because cats eat some plant matter does not mean they don’t need any meat.

And then they came for the tanned people, but I did not speak out because of my correction fluid like complexion

The nannies, killjoys, bansturbators and wowsers really are feeling confident. It’s only been a few days since the war on things anyone likes – which I hope we all now realise started with the ‘war’ on smoking, scare quotes because it was never a war but just the opening salvo of something much, much bigger – attacked sugar for being as evil as alcohol or tobacco, and already they’ve shifted fire onto another target on the list. These things:

Half inched from The Daily Mail - click for linky

No, not women in the nip, though give it enough time and I’m sure someone will come up with a vaguely plausible reason. No, the target is sunbeds, and although they’ve had the odd potshot such as age restrictions and talk of tanning taxes sent their way before, this phase of the war on everything that someone somewhere might be enjoying has gone nuclear in a hurry.

Commercial tanning beds will be banned in NSW under radical new laws to be announced by the government today.

NSW will be the only place in the world besides Brazil to institute a total ban on ultraviolet solariums tanning units when the laws come into place from December 31, 2014, and cancer groups hope other states and countries will follow.

Jesus, I can feel the self righteousness from here, the pride in being the only place in the world (besides Brazil – damn Brazilians thinking up this stuff first) to treat sunbeds as another thing reasoning adults can’t be allowed to make up their own minds about. No, New South Welshies, because some people get skin cancer and because some of them spend enough time on a sunbed to look like an overdone chip your state government has decided you can’t be trusted to weigh up the risks yourselves and has decided for you. This, in case anyone outside Australia is wondering, is a right of centre Liberal (In Name Only) government, and being as how the Liberal party here is often pretty illiberal and appears to have no interest in individual freedom how the fuck they get away with calling themselves the Liberal Party without every dictionary in Australia bursting into flame is beyond me. A party whose name references the concept of freedom taking freedom away from people, shredding and pulping it, and then pressing it into rolls to be hung up in the toilets of Parliament House.

And of course being a right of centre party you’d think, or I’m sure they’d very much like you to think, that they’re the friends of the entrepreneur and small businesses. Like shit are they. A unilateral ban on a whole fucking industry? Seriously?

The ban is likely to save lives but could put some NSW solariums – which pay about $30,000 for new tanning beds – out of business.

You think? What else does a tanning salon do apart from offer people the facility to get tanned? As far as I can see the idea is you find a site, fill it with a decent number of these machines at thirty grand a pop, and open the doors. Yes, they could diversify, but when the state government is banning the bloody machines on which the whole enterprise effectively rests then diversifying seems to mean not actually being a tanning salon anymore. I suppose the spray on tan is an option for the time being, but just as they’ve come for the smokers, the drinkers, the salad dodgers, the sweet toothed and the strangely bronze they will eventually come for the Oompa Loompas, and they’ll no more care that you’re taller than the average Oompa Loompa than they did that most wine drinkers manage not to drink themselves insensible every night. And with the anti-sugar assault raging you’ll probably be accused of war crimes for working in that chocolate factory.

Even if that doesn’t happen right away a ban on commercial tanning machines is going to affect the trade like a ban on professional woodworking tools would affect furniture making, except for the fact that you can’t just walk outside and sit in the park for an hour to get a free nest of tables. And even something as catastrophically dim as a politician seems able to understand this.

The Environment Minister, Robyn Parker, chose World Cancer Day to make her announcement, saying sun beds were carcinogenic and the International Agency for Research on Cancer had placed them in the same category of risk as asbestos. “Sadly, Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world and this ban is long overdue,” she said.

There are about 100 businesses with 254 commercial tanning units registered in NSW, and about 10 per cent offer UV tanning exclusively. That group would be offered help through the Department of Trade and Investment’s business advisory services, Ms Parker said.

Lucky NSW taxpayers. Your government has just made more than $7,500,000 of equipment next to worthless unless shipped interstate and kicked a hundred tax paying businesses, not a single one of which will have dragged people off the street and forced them onto the sunbeds, in the teeth. But the government is going to ‘help’ them, which I suspect will mean giving them money..

Oh, but it’ll save lives so it’ll be worth it, right? Aaaaaaand cue the cancer victim:

Jay Allen, a melanoma survivor who led the campaign for the ban, said he was “over the moon”.

“This is for all the people who have lost their life to melanoma, all the people living with melanoma,” he said. “It’s going to save many, many lives.”

No, Jay, it won’t. I understand why you want to believe that, but it won’t and here’s why.

Like almost every risky activity you can think of the dangers involved are either patently obvious or so regularly rammed down everyone’s throats via PSAs in print and broadcast media that to be unaware you’d have to have spent the last two or three decades in either a cave or a coma. Christ, I heard of ‘Slip Slop Slap’ twenty years before I even came here. It’s a very safe assumption that those who still want a tan have heard about the risks and have decided they’re prepared to chance it, and if they’re adults nobody else should have a problem with that. And having decided the risk is worth it do you think they’ll just accept being pale when you take away all the tanning machines? Or do you think that they’ll just go and get a free tan under an infinitly more powerful UV source outside?

The point of tanning machines – and I’m assuming because I’ve never used one and don’t plan to – is that people pay money to cook themselves under power as alternative to the free, but supposedly even more dangerous, alternative of cooking themselves under the harsh Aussie sun instead. Are tanning beds safe? I have absolutely no idea but I don’t expect so, but if they’re likely to do less harm than a natural suntan then banning them seems the height of idiocy. And if you can prove they do more harm than a natural suntan then banning is unnecessary – just publicise it so tan-wannabes will go outside and tanning machines will go the way of the dinosaur. Even is some people carry on using them that’s their choice, no one else’s.

[Chief Exec of Cancer Council Australia, Ian Olver] said governments paid for cancers caused by sunbeds so they had a right to ban them.

No they don’t. They can stop paying for cancers caused by sunbeds and tell the strangely brown to buy health insurance, but I don’t see that they have any right to involve themselves in the business of consenting adults, doubly so when they physically can’t stop people tanning simply because someone who wants a tan will do what it takes to get one. There’s simply no way you can stop them without introducing a daytime curfew, and I don’t think I need to explain what that would do to the NSW economy. The tourist trade alone would be wrecked – come to sunny Sydney (viewing available only by night).

So the long and short of it is that this will likely wreck businesses and cost taxpayers’ money for close to bugger all benefit, but Jeez the New South Wales Righteous will have the biggest warm fuzzy about it.

And, tanlovers, with your healthy (for a given value of healthy) bronzed and toned bodies, I can only add that you were warned. You were told again and again and again and again – do not believe the anti-smoking campaigners when they say it’s just smoking they want to control. But you did, just as so many non-smokers who drink or whose waistlines or diets or levels of physical activity don’t meet proscribed norms, and as they’re all finding out it was a fucking lie. It was not just smoking, smoking was just the start. And it isn’t just that the tactics and propaganda are the same but with smoking changed to read alcohol, fat, sugar, caffeine or tanning – quite often the same bloody people are involved as well. For example, from Velvet Glove, Iron Fist on Jan 28th.

The Guardian recently kicked off the campaign for plain packaging this week with an interview with that sad old sociologist Simon Chapman who seems to think that the tobacco industry finds him fascinating:

“They dislike me intensely because of my prominence and persistence. But I also confuse them because I’m very against the censorship and rating of films because of their tobacco content.”

“Hey, look at me—I’m only half-mad!”

[…]

Chapman is very proud that the Australian supernanny state has banned e-cigarettes and snus, for example—these people should be in a smokefree prison cell.

And from Dick Puddlecote just a couple of days ago:

I’ve said before that you’re going to hear some incredibly desperate justification for plain packaging in the coming months. In this 54 second campaign video, for example, is an absolute pearler from Australian Head woe-warbler, Simon Chapman.

Apparently, it’s perfectly reasonable to stop an industry from using their historical trademarks … because Islamic countries prohibit alcohol.

Simon Chapman and Simon Chapman. Hmmm, familiar sounding name… where’ve I heard it before? Oh, yes, of course! It was right there in the article about New South Wales banning commercial tanning machines.

A professor of public health at the University of Sydney, Simon Chapman, said: “Solaria are cancer incubators and we have known that for a good while”.

Do you see? Do you understand? Is the penny or your local equivalent dropping yet? These people are absolutely obsessed and they will never, ever, ever be satisfied. It doesn’t matter if you don’t smoke, it doesn’t matter if you drink only very moderately or even not at all, it doesn’t matter if you eat the way they want you to eat and exercise as much as they want you to exercise, and it doesn’t matter if you put on factor 30+ with a four inch brush and stay indoors until the sun’s nearly set. None of it matters because like every other human on the planet you will do something that you enjoy, and even if it doesn’t harm another living soul I guarantee you this: someone somewhere disapproves and wants you to stop, and they’re invariably prepared to use force if you fail to obey.

It’s them and us, folks. If you can live and let live then you’re one of us, and it’s time you woke up and realised that the choice is to hang together or hang separately. And if you see something that annoys you and think to yourself, “Oooh, there ought to be a law against people doing that”, then you’re one of them, and it’s time you were told:

Fuck you all. Fuck you right in the lungs.

Fantastic news – booze and fags are as harmless as sugar

Click for linky

I know this isn’t new news as it, or something very much like it, was doing the rounds on the anti-nannying blogs not so very long ago, and I’m certainly not the only one to have deliberately misinterpreted the headline. But what else can you do in the face of such relentless nannying but carry on taking the piss out of them?

Sugar is so harmful that it should be controlled in the same way as tobacco and alcohol, according to a team of leading public health experts.

Three US scientists from the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) maintain sugar is more than just “empty calories” that makes people fat.

They argue that high calorie, sweetened food is indirectly responsible for 35 million annual deaths worldwide due to lifestyle-related conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Professors Robert Lustig, Laura Schmidt and Claire Brindis call for restrictions and controls on sugar that mirror those on tobacco and alcohol.

You know, I thought they might.

The health hazards were similar to the effects of drinking too much alcohol — which was, in any event, manufactured from the distillation of sugar.

Yep, add two sugars to my coffee and I’m absofuckingloutely anyone’s, the cheapest of cheap dates. No, I know that’s not what you mean but seriously, you lot can’t possibly be sitting there with a straight face and telling us that the effects are similar and then bringing up the completely irrelevant point that sugar is used to produce alcohol. Come on, that’s like saying that beer is bad and wheat, which makes beer, also makes Weet-Bix. True, but bugger all to do with anything.

The main culprit is said to be fructose, a sugar molecule that is commonly added to processed food in sweetening agents such as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). There is increasing evidence that excess fructose has harmful effects on the body.

And you know where else you find fructose?

Click for linky

Also lots of berries, if I recall. It’s tempting at this point to change the post title to ‘Your five a day is going to kill you’ except I used that last November over at the Orphanage. How about ‘An apple a day keeps the mortician employed’ instead? Or would it be a different kind of fructose that’s bad for you because it knows it’s in nasty processed food instead of something nice and natural, like an unwashed apple with bird shit on or some nice broc-E. coli florets.

Anyway, it’s by the by because this equivalence to tobacco and alcohol is just ridiculous whether you say sugar’s just as bad or that booze and ciggies are no worse. One thing I will give the anti-fags and anti-booze brigade is this: when they say that the body has no need for alcohol or tobacco they do have a point. I no longer consume either and I haven’t starved to death, so from a strictly nutritional point of view smoking and drinking must have no value. Needless to say I don’t follow their example and ignore all the non-nutritional value smokers and drinkers get, which is basically that they just enjoy it – something these joyless arseholes who want it all banned, or at least under their control, may be incapable of understanding – but I’m not going to suggest that the human body needs five to ten smokes and a couple of beers a day or it’ll stop working.*

The same can’t be said of sugar which is actually quite important,  something the article doesn’t really get round to. I remember being taught at school about a molecule called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, about half a pound of which sloshes around inside each of us. Having only half a pound makes it sound like something relatively unimportant but here’s the thing: it’s what gives energy to all your muscles including, I believe, your heart and the diaphragm muscles that work your lungs. And half a pound of ATP will only run your body for about ten minutes or so. Fortunately we’re producing ATP more or less constantly as well as using it up all the time, so that we actually go through about our body weight of ATP over the course of a day. If you already know that mitochondria living in your cells are responsible for making all that ATP you may now make a Star Wars prequel joke about it. You’ll also know what the mitochondria make it out of: sugar.

Okay, I know that’s simplifying things, but it boils down to needing the mitochondria to make ATP for you as your fuel tank for it is a bit on the small side, and for them to do that they need you to put food containing sugars into your head hole regularly. Can you put too much sugar in? Yeah, sure, of course, nobody’s saying otherwise. Does it make you fatter if you do? Again, yes, because the body can turn fat into sugars for the mitochondria when needed, meaning that while the ATP fuel tank is stupidly small you can have a fat fuel tank almost as large as you want. Some might call this intelligent design but if my car only held a pint of petrol and came with a small refinery in the boot and capacity for several barrels of Brent crude I’d have bought a different one. However, while we can reject a car our bodies we’re stuck with, which means a certain amount of sugar intake isn’t an option but a necessity.

And because some of us (ahem, including me, but if you’d tasted Mrs Exile’s baking you’d understand) do indeed take in more than we need these nannying killjoys want to regulate this necessity. For everybody.

Speaking about the comment article, Professor Lustig, from the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, said: “As long as the public thinks that sugar is just ’empty calories’, we have no chance in solving this.”

Great, so they won’t try then? Yeah, some hope.

“There are good calories and bad calories…

Ohhh-kay, I was geared up to pay attention to you, Rob, but I’m going to have to stop you there because that’s the worst kind of unscientific arse gravy. Did you give the press conference in the middle of a kindergarten or something? A calorie isn’t good or bad, it’s just a unit of energy. If you apply some energy  to 1 gram of water so that you raise its temperature by 1˚C you’ve used one calorie. Saying there are good calories and bad calories is as ridiculous as saying there are good BTUs and bad BTUs, good joules and bad joules, good millimetres and bad millimetres. It is, not to put too fine a point on it, complete bollocks. Shall we just take all the hectoring as read and cut to the chase – what exactly is it you want?

In their commentary, the experts propose adding taxes to processed foods that contain any form of added sugar.

These would include carbonated drinks, other sugar-sweetened beverages such as juice and chocolate milk, and sugared cereals.

Other strategies included controlling access with measures such as age limits for the purchase of sugary drinks, and tightening controls on vending machines and snack bars in schools and workplaces.

Thought so. Fuck off.

Professor Schmidt [said]: “We’re not talking prohibition.”

Oh, that’s big of you, Laura. But really you are talking prohibition or something close because you’re telling us that it’s as bad as alcohol and tobacco, one of which has been prohibited once in the past and both of which, we’re often told by your fellow travellers, are unsafe in any quantity.

“We’re not advocating a major imposition of the Government into people’s lives.”

What? Yes you are. Taxation and age limits and controls on vending machines? Were you asleep for that bit?

“We’re talking about gentle ways to make sugar consumption slightly less convenient, thereby moving people away from the concentrated dose.”

Oh, that creepy nudge technique again. Too bad, we know what that looks like. I’d say try again, but really, don’t.

The experts concluded in their article: “Regulating sugar will not be easy — particularly in the ’emerging markets’ of developing countries where soft drinks are often cheaper than potable water or milk.

“We recognise that societal intervention to reduce the supply and demand for sugar faces an uphill political battle against a powerful sugar lobby, and will require active engagement from all stakeholders.”

Oh dear me, this is cookie cutter nannying (sugar free dough, natch). You could almost change all references to sugar to read alcohol or tobacco and it would… in fact, screw it. Let’s try:

“Regulating alcohol will not be easy — particularly in the ’emerging markets’ of developing countries where alcopops are often cheaper than potable water or milk.
“We recognise that societal intervention to reduce the supply and demand for alcohol faces an uphill political battle against a powerful drinks lobby, and will require active engagement from all stakeholders.”

So that’s three ‘sugars’ and one ‘soft drinks’ replaced by two ‘alcohols’, one ‘drinks’ and an ‘alcopops’, and doesn’t it come out sounding familiar? Granted, harder to do with tobacco when it’s had the ragged arse taxed out of it to the extent that I doubt it’s cheaper than water in many places, but then it’s not true of alcohol either and it still gets repeated. Also we all know that people who’ll claim that tobacco needs to be more expensive are ten a penny, except that’s not quite right either. They’re really nothing like as cheap as a penny and it’s more like pay for one rent seeker and get another nine at the same rate.

All of which goes to reinforce what many of us, smokers and non-smokers and drinkers and teetotallers alike, who’ve been banging on about increasing nannyism have been saying for quite a while now: Niemöller has never been more right. They came for the smokers but they were never going to be satisfied with just controlling them. They came next for the drinker and won’t be satisfied with adding control of them either. And now it’s the salad dodgers and people who eat too much sweet stuff, including fruit and berries (fructose, remember). They will, in fact, never be satisfied until they control everyone, because there will always be someone somewhere who overdoes things. Give it long enough and I wouldn’t be shocked to see oxygen cropping up because of what it does to iron, the same stuff that’s in the blood of the nation’s children. All those kids with rusting veins, it’s a national disgrace and we must take the lead in yadda yadda yadda, won’t someone think of the chiiiiiiildren.

They simply will never, ever stop because, paraphrasing C. S. Lewis, tyranny exercised for the good of its victims is the worst of all tyrannies – cruelty and greed take the occasional nap but those who torment us for our own good do it with the approval of their consciences. They’re not all evil, but for all our sakes they must be resisted just as if they were.

* The owners of some of those human bodies might stop working, but that’s not quite the same thing.

Quote (and other things) of the Day

From, not surprisingly, The Daily Mash.

Ed Miliband cost Britain the best part of a billion pounds yesterday.

The Labour leader’s brave, popular stance against RBS bonuses led directly to the bank losing £900m of its value as investors reckoned that if Ed Miliband was calling the shots they may as well buy shares in a mangled badger.

Which is ironic given that’s pretty much what his old boss, the cyclops with the faecal Midas touch, did when he spunked away nearly £40 billion of taxpayers’ money on buying a company that had the thick end of two fucking trillion in liabilities.

And on a closely related subject, which I might have titled ‘Twat of the day’ if I was making a separate post of it, I see that Fred the Shred has been de-knighted, stripped of his honour for services to the banking industry nominally because of his disservice to the banking industry, but I suspect mainly because it’s politically expedient to give him a good kick in the balls despite the fact that he committed no actual crime. Or perhaps, given that he’s been the target of this kind of thing on and off since Harriet Harperson suggested three years ago that the ‘court of public opinion’ (which is entirely different from Harperson herself and other champagne socialists) had decided his pension arrangements were unacceptable despite being in a legal contract, it’d be more accurate to say that it’s still politically expedient to kick him in the balls. I can’t think of any other reason why, as the Tele points out, Goodwin has been singled out for being no worse than a big business fuck up while others, some of whom have committed real actual crimes, have been allowed to keep their gongs.

Lord Jeffrey Archer, disgraced peer and best-selling author, he spent time at her majesty’s pleasure for perjury in 2001, having lied about sleeping with a prostitute.

[…]

Ex-HBOS chairman Lord Stevenson was awarded a CBE in 1981, a knighthood in 1997 and was made a peer in 1999. Like Goodwin he played a significant role in his bank’s near-collapse in 2008 and apologised to the Treasury Select Committee for his over-reliance on wholesale funding markets.

[…]

Lord Taylor of Warwick, the son of Jamaican immigrants who rose from humble beginnings to become a barrister and a member of the Upper House, was exposed by the Daily Telegraph for swindling £11,000 in fraudulent MP expenses out of the taxpayer and subsequently imprisoned, yet retains his seat in the House of Lords.

Labour peers Lady Uddin and Lord Paul, and the crossbencher Lord Bhatia all received lengthy suspensions from the House of Lords after wrongly claiming thousands of pounds in expenses yet retain the right to re-ent

(EDITED TO ADD: Captain Ranty reminds me in the comments of the case of Lord Ahmed who killed someone in a car crash on the motorway shortly after sending text messages from the driving seat. As I recall there was no real evidence that texting brought about the crash and he was not actually charged with causing the death of the other man, but his lordship was convicted of dangerous driving and sentenced to several months. The Captain points out that he served only 12 days and that he too still has his title.)

To which, it could be argued, we should add the names Sir Howard Davies and Sir Callum McCarthy, chairman of the Financial Services Authority from 97-03 and 03-08 respectively, though perhaps not Jonathan Adair Turner, Baron Turner of Ecchinswell, the FSA chairman since May 2008, who’s getting some stick in various news website comments but really wasn’t there in time to have prevented anything. But we could certainly include the various Sirs, Dames, Honorables, Right Honourables and so on in parliament and on whatever committees approve these things who all so thoroughly applauded what ex-Sir Fred was doing that they put him up for and awarded him the fucking knighthood in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of ex-Sir Fred and in fact I’ve called him some unpleasant names and expressed hope that he fall down some stairs and land on his testicles, but if all this really is, as it’s being said, for bringing the honours system into disrepute surely the spotlight should rather be on those who give out honours to idiots, fuck ups, crooks and inconsequential slebs.

In fact never mind his bloody honour, such as it is these days, you don’t need to look far to find people saying he and other bankers should be arrested and jailed. For example, this comment at Huffpo

They should throw him in the tower of London for a good number of years as well.

… and this one at the Graun

Good. Now put him in jail.

… and this one commenting on the same article

He should be locked-up in prison.

And best of all, this one from a web forum.

in my opinion, taking away the knighthood means nothing. This bastard should have been tried in court and sentenced to jail.

he basically played around with other people’s money while paying himself a high salary and then when $hit hit the fan, asked for a 45 billion bailout. Im sorry, but if someone steals 10 dollars from another, he is called a criminal and can get a prison sentence. While this idiot stole billions, and people are arguing about some stupid title that means nothing.

Dump this idiot in prison…then we can discuss his knighthood.

Oh, and also one I spotted a few months back by Jon Snow, long serving journo and former law student.

Veteran Channel 4 newsborg Jon Snow blogs on the eeeevil bankers, and specifically asks why they haven’t been arrested, and by extension I imagine charged, tried, found guilty, purged, flayed, subjected to the Pear of Anguish and possibly also the Banana of Discomfort and the whole Fruit Salad of Much Inconvenience, and finally hung, drawn, quartered and buried in five limed graves each. But that may just be the impression I get.

Click for linky

The publication of the Vickers report into British banking reform sparks the question why the UK has so far failed to prosecute a single individual for his or her misdeeds during the financial meltdown of 2008.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that maybe no actual crime has been committed. Negligence, probably yes. Gross stupidity, almost indubitably. Financial irresponsibility and incompetence of such breathtaking degree that it’s comparable with what some governments spunk away every week, for sure. And some of that may be tortious, but is there evidence that an actual offence has been committed and is there enough of it to make a successful prosecution likely? Because if the answer to both is no, Jon, there’s your reason why.

Okay, he might not have finished his law degree but you’d hope that the course would have covered the tiny detail that people need to be at least suspected of having committed a crime before they can legally be arrested, and if not that he might have picked up the fact at some stage during a long career in journalism or even just by being a fucking adult. I’m reasonably sure I was aware that you couldn’t be arrested, Constable Savage style, for bullshit offences made up on the spot by the time I was in my late teens.*

All of this cockwaftery about arrests and prison stretches have the same thing in common – a complete absence of any mention of an actual crime Goodwin or any other banker (with the notable exception of Bernie Madhoff, whose fraud was genuine but actually had two fifths of fuck all to do with the financial crisis) is alleged to have committed. Y’know, something that’s a real offence that you can be arrested for and charged with, something with a statute somewhere to make the action a crime and give legal power to punish it, that kind of thing. Christ, only one even mentions those inconvenient formalities of courts and trials, but even then the fact of imprisonment seems to be treated as a priori and the writer even goes so far as to specifically accuse Fred Goodwin of theft. Yeah, and I suppose my bank steals the money I voluntarily deposit in it too, right? Or is he perhaps referring to the money given to RBS in the bailout? If so then it should be pointed out that as far as Goodwin and RBS were concerned the exchange of funds was again entirely voluntary, and of course shares, for whatever they ultimately turn out to be worth, were given in return. The only involuntary part, the only bit where money was forcefully taken from people, was the bit where money was taken from taxpayers so as to be thrown, by Gordon Clown and his Darling Alastair, at RBS and other banks. It’s more like stealing ten dollars before meeting someone who’s lost their own money on the horses and owes a lot more, and then giving him the ten dollars as well as stealing another twenty and going out to steal again the next day – the guy who owes all that money may be an idiot but he’s not the thief.

Let me repeat that vital point: whatever else that guy is, he is NOT a thief.

How the fuck can apparently reasoning adults not understand this? Do I really have to get medieval Reformation on their asses and quote Sir Thomas More again? Or shall I go with the misquoted version I used when fisking Jon Snow last year?

Arrest them.

Why?

They’re eeevil bankers who are greedy, stupid and negligent.

There’s no law against that.

So now you’d give the bankers the benefit of law?

Yes. What would you do?
Cut a great road through the
law to get after the bankers?

And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man’s laws, not God’s — and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it  — do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.

Why is it so difficult for some people to grasp that when you start demanding that people be thrown in gaol without worrying about whether they’ve broken a law then those doing the throwing and demanding are in as much trouble as the actual throwees?

‘Kinell!

* Actually the Constable Savage sketch might even be part of the reason I was aware of this.

Chutzpah overload

David Cameron, not so much a gift that keeps on giving as a hypocrite who keeps on talking.

David Cameron has attacked the “madness” of European regulations and taxes in a speech to global business leaders in Davos, Switzerland. The Prime Minister said Europe is still at a “perilous time” because of its debts and must stop throttling growth with excessive bureaucracy.

Ahahahahahaha. Ahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

He said European leaders must stop destroying jobs and growth by “tinkering” with regulations and “hoping we’ll drift to a solution”.

Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.Oohooo.

He said: “In the name of social protection, the EU has promoted unnecessary measures that impose burdens on businesses and governments, and can destroy jobs.”

Come on, Davey boy, this is pots and kettles meeting motes and beams and settling down to raise a nice little family of über-hypocrisy. You’ve got a national debt that has grown so mindfuckingly huge even by conservative estimates that wrapping your head round it is only possible by means of weird thought experiments, you’ve got huge numbers on the rock and roll because they don’t have skills and their labour is worth less than the six quid an hour – as someone at Davos has kindly pointed out – you’ve got heaps of rules, laws and regulations, more than a few originating in the EU and gold plated by Whitehall to a standard of stupidity not actually demanded by Europe in the first place, all making life for small businesses just that bit more difficult when compared to their large competitors who can more easily hire an extra body or two to deal with red tape… and all that’s before we get to taxation and the 50% income tax rate that probably isn’t putting anything extra into the kitty and looks like it’s being kept for political reasons, import duties that are keeping manufacturing jobs abroad, and a shitty rate of 20% for VAT. Oh, and contrary to popular belief the Cobbleition hasn’t cut a single penny of expenditure and is in fact going through money even faster than Gordon Brown’s government.

Now, we all know that much of this is how it is because that’s what the Cobbleition inherited from Labour, so I’m not having a go at them for causing it. I’m not even having a go at them for failing to fix it, or not as such. I’m having a go because, as I’ve said numerous times, they’re doing much the same bloody things as Labour did and that there really doesn’t seem to be a fucking Rizla paper between them. Yes, they’ve planned to spend a little less than Labour had planned to spend, but when you’re two to four trillion in the hole and the economy’s in the shitter then something has to give, so I think it’s pretty likely that Labour would have scaled back those spending plans in the unlikely event they’d won. Other than that the government is basically pro-EU while talking tough on Europe, pro-tax and redistribution, pro-regulation and state control (though against regulation and control of the state, of course), pro-nannying and paternalism, and against letting people get on with their lives. Oh, and by their inaction I assume they’re anti-undoing even the most egregious legislation of the previous governments (Great Repeal Bill? Where’d it go?). Different on some specifics but broadly much the same breed of authoritarian cock sockets, and here we have the authoritarian cock socket-in-chief ripping into his counterparts for doing more or less what he’s either doing off his own back or carrying on from the Brown days through not having any better ideas.

I couldn’t stand Gordon Brown and still hold him in great contempt, but I really am coming to loath David Cameron with a passion.

Offence seeking déjà vu

Do you remember the end of 2010? I do. My very last blog post of the year was titled “Last effort for the Offence Seeking Twat of the Year Award” and was about the Top Gear Christmas special outraging literally some people, most of whom were white, middle class Graun readers. Oh, and Andy Choudary.

Needless to say I haven’t actually seen Top Gear’s “Three Wise Men”, and being a Christmas special I expect it’ll air here between Easter and late June, but it has already made some news here. And it’s all thanks to James May, a rock, a few square yards of black cloth, and bloody Anjem “Is-It-‘Coz-I-Is-Slamic” Choudary. It seems that James May brained himself with a rock somehow and that when he came out of hospital, for reasons I don’t pretend to understand, this was what he was faced with.

Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond disguised themselves as women by wearing Islamic face veils which only revealed their eyes in a Christmas show filmed in Syria.

Don’t fancy yours much.

Andy, with almost gravitic inevitability, was upset because he saw this as an attack on a symbol of his religion, which as far as I could tell the burqa isn’t, having been predictably silent over the years about Muslim attacks on the symbols and traditions of other religions.

Still, all to be expected, and so is the nature and level of outrage directed Top Gear’s way over this year’s Christmas special.

Jeremy Clarkson has been accused of offensive behaviour once again after mocking Indian culture in a Top Gear Christmas special.

Okay, can I interrupt to make a brief point. There’s no ‘accused of offensive behaviour’ about it – if someone was offended then ipso facto his behaviour was offensive. The question is whether that’s a reason for doing anything, and since nobody’s ever done so much as two fifths of fuck all about most of the things that offend me, and since that doesn’t keep me awake at night, I’d say the answer is no, no reason to do anything at all. Being offended is painless and causes no loss unless someone chooses to allow it, which says more about them than what they’re complaining about. By all means take offence and say so if you like, but don’t tell me it harmed you and the other person must be silenced.

Viewers have complained to the BBC after the outspoken presenter made a series of controversial remarks about the country’s clothing, trains, food and history.At one point, Clarkson appeared to make light of the lack of sanitation for poor residents by driving around slums in a Jaguar fitted with a toilet.

And? It’s not the wittiest way of making the point but unless it’s actually wrong and Indian slums typically have indoor plumbing, piped water supplies and sewers now I don’t see the problem. These people are dreadfully poor and literally don’t have a pot to piss in. I’m not saying that Clarkson was subtly highlighting the issue of Indian poverty but it’s not as if he was saying something that isn’t true. Even if he was the appropriate response is rebuttal, not howls of righteous outrage and the usual demand to have him sacked and flogged with broken glass.

And then we have the actual volume of complaints.

A spokesman for the BBC said they had received 23 complaints about the programme, which was broadcast on Wednesday evening.

And how many watched? According to the Graun, who I imagine would like nothing better than the anger of the terminally thin skinned over Clarkson’s shoot public sector strikers remark to kill TG’s viewing figures, five million people watched and it was the most popular show in its time slot. Assuming every one of those 23 who complained actually watched the show that’s 0.00046% of viewers who were offended, and given that about a million people in the UK are of Indian ethnicity it says even more that only 23 complained. Not that all those 23 were necessarily Indian – some are probably white, middle class Graun readers getting offended on behalf of Indians, who presumably don’t know when they’re being offended. Certainly some of the people taking to message boards and Twatter seem to be.

Owen Hathway tweeted: “Whats wrong with the BBC that they think casual racist stereotyping is acceptable on top gear?”

No idea, Owen, but why don’t we leave it up to the million British Indians and the billion Indian Indians to decide whether to be upset. Many of them might think it’s some middle aged white guy making a tit of himself and find it amusing. But no, they’re clearly mistaken and should be as outraged as the Owens are on their behalf, because it’s raaaaaaaacist, see? Raaaaaaaacist!

Which reminds me, where do I write in to complain about this sketch by Goodness Gracious Me from a few years back? I thought it was pretty funny at the time, but now thanks to 23 anonymous complainants and an assortment of condescending pricks I now realise that it was mocking English culture and… what was it again? Oh, yes, I remember: casual racist stereotyping.

I mean, what is wrong with the BBC that they thought it was acceptable?

What’s good for the goose is for the gander, offence seekers, and you can’t have it both ways. Either both are bad and offensive and shouldn’t be allowed, or both are fair play regardless of whether someone somewhere is (or just decides they ought to be) offended by it. I’d say the latter because, as I’ve said before, there is no right to go through life and never be offended, and since one person can be offended by something that is said while another can be offended by it not being said there never can be a right to not be offended.

As someone who’s offended by opening the paper and has moved somewhere that has its own special name for the English my advice would be to get offended all you like as often as you like by absolutely whatever you, er, dislike. Just don’t sit there fuming and expecting it means you have a right to insist that anyone else has to accommodate your feelings, because a free society can never work that way and all an unfree society can do is to pick sides.

And then they came for the… Jesus Christ, popcorn eaters? Is this right? – UPDATED

Okay, this is just specific subset of ‘And then they came for the salad dodgers’ really, but Jesus fucking Christ on a state approved dietary regime, popcorn? Seriously? Well, since Velvet Glove, Iron Fist is taking a look at a comment piece in the Independent entitled ‘Filling your face with popcorn is not a human right‘ one has to assume that it is serious. And so insanely authoritarian that even the normally restrained Chris Snowdon has seen red.

…it’s clear that many people find it hard to resist fatty food and cheap alcohol, which leaves government intervention the only serious option.

Well, let’s not be so hasty. Are we sure that all the other possibilities have been exhausted? Have you, for example, considered the option of fucking off and leaving us alone?

Quite. It’s a thorough fisking and not wishing to steal his thunder I recommend you go read the whole thing there. There’s little I can add except for two points. First, and I’m getting a bit personal here, if one person cannot be free to smoke or drink or eat popcorn then why should another be free to walk around with a face like a dropped pie? That’s not personal abuse aimed at Joan Smith – well, okay, actually it is really, but it’s not just personal abuse. The point is that if it’s okay to be so judgemental about certain people’s harmless habits then why not others? Why not be as judgemental about who they play hide the sausage with as you are about how many sausages they eat? And why not other aspects, even physical imperfections? It’s not like it hasn’t all been done before by various other bunches of mad left-wing authoritarians with hard ons both for improving health and for the cost to the public purse. You can sound the Godwin alarm all you like, I don’t give a rip. Because it’s fucking true, d’you see?

“This person suffering from hereditary defects costs the community 60,000 Reichsmarks
during his lifetime. Fellow German, that is your money, too.” – Wikipedia.

Secondly I’d expand on something else Chris Snowdon says:

Once we have accepted the healthist world view, no principled and logically consistent objection can be made against photos of rotten teeth on soft drinks. Those who welcomed the 85% sales tax on cigarettes are in no position to oppose an 85% sales tax on bacon. They can only wriggle and squirm and hope the puritans tackle their pleasures last.

And so, in a sense, I welcome the likes of Joan Smith and Jonathan Waxman for finally coming clean and alerting us all about what is afoot.

Yes, but I think they should also be welcomed simply for reaching these insane levels of wanting to regulate popcorn intake and put health warnings on bangers and mash (also a wank fantasy of another a revolting authoritarian cunt – the aforementioned Waxman – and also fisked at VG,IF). If something is going to derail their plans, if something is going to halt the marching of those nasty little boots, then it could well be when the owners of those boots strap them onto a surfboard before going and jumping a shark.

UPDATE – Oh, Jesus, this is just so fucking depressing. How can people understand liberty when it comes to people inclined to bump uglies with someone of the same gender but be unable to grasp the concept when it comes to everyone deciding what food to insert in the other end of their bodies?

Could it be simply that they’re not supporting gay marriage for reasons of liberty but because they’ve been they’ve been made to think they should, just as they’ve been made to think that the government should be doing all their thinking for them?

Baaaa. Baaaaa.

It’s not wrong if lefties doing it – UPDATED

Compare and contrast. First, something that needs no source and which the Righteous and right-on are saying is very, very bad, though as we should all know by now is lacking in context.

Frankly, I’d have them all shot. I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families.

Second, via Churchmouse writing at The Orphanage, and which he notes has gone entirely unremarked and without complaint by the Righteous and right-on in general and Unison in particular, something from the Birmingham Mail reporting on the public sector strike activity in their area.

A small group of protestors carried a mocked up guillotine with images of Nick Clegg and David Cameron, with a slogan saying “heads will roll”.

I do hope that’s cleared things up for everybody.

UPDATE – Churchmouse has left another example at the Orphanage, this time of an overdrive of leftie foam-flecked. outraged, offence seeking because some student Conservative Society burned an effigy of the Obamessiah, preceded three years ago by a deafening silence when someone else burned an effigy of Sarah Palin. And not forgetting that Camermong/Clegg guillotine thing.

That what’s good for the goose is also for the gander is something the left and right alike struggle with, though I’ll credit the right with less absurd examples of hypocrisy, while those libertarians who’ve been similarly hyperbolic have tended to be consistent and asked for enough lengths of piano wire to string up left and right wing statists all at the same time.

Hell hath no fury like a public sector union ridiculed

Oooh, Jezza, you are in trouble now. It was one thing having a pop at the Prime Mentalist of Britain and his eyesight, though I felt the term ‘one-eyed Scottish idiot’ just served to identify exactly which of the 600 or so idiots was being talked about in case anyone didn’t catch the name, but how very dare you use a typically hyperbolic expression that only a attention seeking moron with a Pavlovian response to take offence to almost anything would take literally when talking about the heroic public sector workers.

Heroic workers

Within hours, public servants had bombarded the BBC with more than 4,700 complaints, but Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Unison, took matters further. He said Clarkson’s “revolting” comments were “totally outrageous, and they cannot be tolerated”.

Okay, more than 4,700 complaints from the two million or so that Dave Prentis claims were striking. I make that less than a quarter of one per cent who got sufficiently bent out of shape about it to complain. Or who knows, perhaps a quarter of one per cent is about the number who complained when they were told to by Dave Prentis? Or any combination of the two.

Or is it 4,700 out of the six million or so people in Britain who are either in the public sector or who depend on it for a living, making it well below a tenth of one per cent? Or should we go the whole way and just say that it’s 4,700 out of the 50 million or so adults in the UK, making it less than one per cent of one per cent. I suppose given the minority rule model of democracy practised in the UK and favoured by left and right alike, but I feel especially the left, acting on the wounded feelings of one person in every ten thousand seems almost reasonable.

Clarkson should be sacked by the BBC, he said, adding that the union was “seeking urgent legal advice about what further action we can take against him and the BBC, and whether or not his comments should be referred to the police”.

Britain having long since given up any pretence of free speech. Look, Dave, this is a phrase that’s been used by people in the same exaggerated style for decades. as pointed out in The Tele by James Delingpole.

… he was employing it as a figure of speech. I know this won’t mean much to half the morons who complained to the BBC yesterday, but the English language is an extraordinarily rich and nuanced thing. Sometimes, when the speaker says that someone should be shot, he really does mean it: if, say, it’s an officer giving orders to a firing squad about to shoot a deserter or a looter in 1915. More often, though, he doesn’t. For at least the last fifty years “they should be taken out and shot,” has been a socially acceptable, perfectly unexceptionable way of expressing colourfully and vehemently one’s distaste towards a particular category of unpleasantness, be it striking Unison workers, revolting students, poorly performing members of your football team or the Lib Dem members of Cameron’s cabinet. Context is all.

And that’s easily confirmed by googling variants of the phrase and setting filters to exclude all the stuff from the past couple of days. In a couple of minutes I’d found people who’d said that health nuts should all be shot, jobless hippies should all be shot, fairweather motorbikers should all be shot, people who like Elvis Presley should all be shot, and somewhat ironically, someone who’d said journalists should all be shot. Jeremy Clarkson, having certainly started out as a journalist and I expect technically still being one, would Dave Prentis and the 4,700 complainers be leaping to his defence in the belief that he’s about to be killed?

And calling in the police? For heaven’s sake, Dave, do you have any idea how ridiculous that looks to people in the real world? If Clarkson had control over people who both had the means to take strikers out and shoot them and were willing to do it then maybe, just maybe, it might have been incitement. But Clarkson doesn’t control the judicial system, police and military, does he? He doesn’t even control what he describes as the pokey little motoring programme of which he’s a third of the presenters, much less its entire fan base – very few of whom in the UK would possess guns and even fewer of whom would think his comments were anything more than his usual over the top style.

It’s not a crime, Dave – no, not yet even in non-free speech Britain – if no rational person would take it seriously, and on that point what does it say about you and the 4,700 complainers that you do seem to take it seriously? I mean, if they really think a right wing bigmouth like Clarkson would mean it when he says he’d have people shot and could follow up on it would they themselves be dragging people into the street if Ed Milivanilliband had said it?

And now before I go any further, a mandatory blog warning in the spirit of regulations that don’t yet exist but might one day. Readers with recent surgical stitches may be advised to look away now.

In a rant worthy of Clarkson himself, Mr Prentis suggested children watching the programme “could have been scared and upset by his aggressive statements”.

Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Ahahahahahahahaha. Ahahah. Hoohoohoohoo. Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Ahahahahahaha.

Dave, are you that desperate to score a point or are you actually clinically delusional? Look, this is how the BBC describe The One Show: “Magazine show with topical reports, features and interviews from around the UK.”Do you really think any child of the narrow age group that is old enough to understand what was said but too young to recognise it as nothing more than exaggeration for cheap laugh (which of course was the reaction it got in the studio, and is probably the kind of thing that helps children learn what not to take literally) would be watching? I don’t mean in the room at the same time it was on, I mean looking and listening and paying attention to the content. I’d suggest the number to be hovering right around zero with even less remembering it by the next morning, though I’ll concede that there might be a few whose heads were turned to the TV by loving but very PC and extremely fucked up parents who whispered, “That nasty man on telly says he wants to take mummy and daddy away from you forever.” They might still be upset because some tool of a union boss keeps bloody going on about.

Seriously, Dave, this is almost the right-on version of Godwin’s Law. “Won’t someone think of the chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiildren” is the last refuge of a scoundrel, and when someone resorts to it it’s a good sign that their argument holds less weight than a paper bag that’s been left in a puddle of piss for a month and won’t smell much better. For that reason alone I think Dave Prentis loses any credibility and forfeits the argument.

We could call it Lovejoy’s Law.

Misanthropes speak

Yesterday I mentioned that there seemed to be disappointment in some areas – oh, alright, it was The Guardian – that 2011 has not seen record temperatures and warble gloaming is not baking us all to death in our revolting, right wing, miserable selfishness. It’s no great surprise that they’re not alone, being in the company of none other than Phil Jones. Yes, him again.

>From: Phil Jones [mailto:p.jones@uea.ac.uk]
Sent: 05 January 2009 16:18
To: Johns, Tim; Folland, Chris
Cc: Smith, Doug; Johns, Tim
Subject: Re: FW: Temperatures in 2009

Tim, Chris,
I hope you’re not right about the lack of warming lasting
till about 2020. I’d rather hoped to see the earlier Met Office
press release with Doug’s paper that said something like –
half the years to 2014 would exceed the warmest year currently on
record, 1998!
[…]

When you profess a belief that warming will be catastrophic and kill millions that’s a really lovely thing to hope for, Phil, you great humanitarian, you. And did you even consider how unlikely this actually is to happen? At the time you wrote that, January 2009, you must already have been aware that in your own HADCRUT3 record the nine years 1999-2007 inclusive all failed to exceed your desired record, and since there are only sixteen years from 1998 to 2014 that was mathematically impossible even if 2009-14 all broke it. It should already have been crystal clear when you wrote that email that what you were hoping for simply would not, could not, happen. Expressing the hope that it would might suggest getting some primary school level maths wrong, or it might suggest that jigging the figures to make some of the years that weren’t quite warm enough just a little warmer was being considered. Wouldn’t be as good as real warming, which if I understand the warmist ideology is not good but bad yet is also good if it’s bad for people, but it might be good enough if it persuades people to support policies which are bad for them. Or something.

I’m not going to speculate which of those is more likely, but I will say this. A bloody good dose of global warming might be just the thing needed to help Phil Jones thaw out his fucking heart.

H/T Watts Up With That.

A question for the public sector strikers

Yeah, but why is it that for most people you can only get one if you join the public sector?

The sky is angry

Or so says Britain’s Meteorological Office and The Graun. In fact they’re telling us it’s almost as angry as it’s ever been in the history of everything (since 1850, near the end of a period of unusual cold).

Is it me or do I detect a note of disappointment?

As spring bulbs burst into life in gardens around the UK, and plants break into a late second bloom, this autumn has seen balmy temperatures prevail across the UK and many parts of Europe.
Despite these unusual scenes, however, this year overall is not likely to be a global record-breaker.

Again, that slight sense that the Graun feel let down by this failure of Gaia to punish us more severely for our sins against her.

Figures from the Met Office published on Tuesday show that 2011 stands at 11th place in the list of warmest years ever, in global mean temperature records stretching back to 1850.

Ah, now did I imagine it or was 1998 declared the absolute hottest year it’s ever been in the history of everything ever (since 1850, near the end of a period of unusual cold)? Why, thanks to a handy table on the Graun’s article I can see that it was no figment of imagination and that the Met Office did say exactly that, and presumably stand by it if it’s still going into articles now.

Today’s data confirms the overall warming trend, however: of the 10 warmest years on records, nine occurred since 2000.

But looking at that table I can see that it can be put another way: that 13 years after the hottest year ever (since 1850) it’s now the 11th hottest year ever (since 1850). There may be a warming trend, though of course arguments still rage over the reliability of measurements, especially when 2010 is listed as almost as big a scorcher as 1998 despite a bitter northern hemisphere winter which the warmists either forgot to mention or didn’t see coming (not for the first time), but there’s no getting away from the fact that the warmists themselves say that the hottest year was just over a decade and this year is ranked only 11. More interestingly every year of the last decade apart from 2008 was warmer than this year.

Naughty Gaia. People won’t be nearly frightened enough by this. My God, er, Gaia, they might even start to think temperatures have peaked. This just won’t do. I don’t know, you just can’t get the Earth Mother figures these days. Look, just move over and leave it to someone who gets paid for this.

Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, said that[…]

Basic problem is that all models are wrong, not got enough middle and low level clouds.

No, Phil, don’t tell them that. You’re not supposed to let people know of uncertainties. Oh, look, now you’ll have to reassure everyone that all the research into warble gloaming is open and honest and transparent and that there’s nothing going on.

I wasted a part of a day deleting numerous emails and exchanges with almost all the skeptics. So I have virtually nothing. I even deleted the email that I inadvertently sent.
[…]
I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process.

Oh dear, this isn’t good at all. Even if Gaia carries on as she/it has for the last 4.5 billion years the Graun will be very sad if the whole warble gloaming narrative goes into a decline. Never mind – you can always ask Phil to hide it.

Where’s this money coming from?

Click for linky

Of course we know exactly where it’s coming from. There are just shy of thirty million individual taxpayers in Britain, and of those about 6 million are public sector employees whose pre-tax salaries are paid out of other people’s taxes anyway, leaving 24 million people. This governmental generosity is funded by them to the tune of £42 each – and think how you’d feel if someone just shoved you up against a wall and nicked your wallet with forty quid in – unless they go for the alternative of adding it to the nation’s debt to be paid by future taxpayers. This latter choice is increasingly popular because it means the government does not have to shove you up against a wall and take your wallet, thus making you and everyone else much less likely to balk at what it’s being spent on, but since the government has no money or income of its own it’s a lot like going to an expensive restaurant where you can’t possibly afford to eat and then running up a massive tab by shouting for all in the bar and ordering the best stuff on the menu while hoping like hell that you’ll be joined by people with money before the coffee and liqueurs come.*

So what are you getting for your money? Well, not a damn thing, obviously, but what are the Africans getting for it?

Among the projects to be funded will be schemes to help African farmers insure their crops against flooding and drought while other projects include installing solar power in rural villages and building slurry pits that can produce gas to power generators.

In themselves these don’t seem like terribly bad ideas, not least because they don’t seem to be about appeasing the angry sky gods so much as acknowledging the fact that things don’t always stay the same and adapting to it. Oh, and the very worthy goal of getting power to people who don’t have it, or not much of it, at the moment. But…

The move, however, is expected to attract intense criticism at a time when the UK economy is struggling to recover from recession.

Indeed, and every other thing I blog at the moment seems to be about Britain’s government spending money it hasn’t got as fast as or faster than even its recklessly profligate predecessor. And I hadn’t even got round to Cleggy’s latest brain fart about jobs for da yoof paid for by, you guessed it, the taxpayer. Maybe later, or maybe I’ll be too despondent to blog it at all, but for now it’s enough to state that that’s yet another billion pounds. Now back to Huhne-hoon and his bounteous munificence with your money.

One of the countries which will receive money is South Africa, the most economically advanced in the continent. Last year its economy grew by 2.8 per cent, while Britain’s economy rose by 1.8%.

A little misrepresentative, this. By just about any metric, GDP nominal or PPP and absolute or per capita, the UK is much wealthier than the RSA. But then the UK has run up far greater debts than the South Africans have, again in both absolute and relative terms, and how much wealthier Britain really is after allowing for the phantom wealth that’s come from living beyond its means for so long is tricky to say. On top of all that Britain’s likely to go back into recession soon, which makes all these billion here and billion there stories more than a little worrying. So why… ?

The timing of the announcement, however, is being seen as a cynical attempt to “bribe” African nations into signing up to international deals being backed by the British Government at the climate change negotiations in Durban.

Ah, now it’s becoming clear. The UK government, like that of many western nations, has caught the religious warble gloaming zeal and is determined to show its faith by righteously fucking its own economy hard in the arse until its well and truly buggered, but hasn’t become quite so insane that it thinks its own citizens won’t go nuts if they don’t see developing nations – the ones that turn out to be causing more of the problem that we don’t really know is a problem – making sacrifices too.

Oh well, I suppose the government bribing other people with your money is at least a change from bribing you with it.

* But no cigars of course. The restaurant’s long since been forced to go all non-smoking.

Big Eco getting caught out again?

And in more ways than one. I’ve been blogging on other things so I’ve not mentioned the BBC as brought up by Bishop Hill here. And here, and here, here and here. Do go and have a read, though you might not be terribly surprised at what Auntie’s been up to. However, that looks like being overshadowed by what’s already being called Climategate II. Yep, more stuff that the R&D department of Big Eco would rather not have had out in the open has emerged and is being gone over by sceptical bloggers everywhere. Very early still, but Bishop Hill’s initial take is here, Jo Nova here, Watts Up With That here and here but mostly here, and in the MSM James Delingpole here. I’ll leave you with Delingpole’s summary and a few of his preferred quotes as I’ve got popcorn to make. Do go read the rest.

Breaking news: two years after the Climategate, a further batch of emails has been leaked onto the internet by a person – or persons – unknown. And as before, they show the “scientists” at the heart of the Man-Made Global Warming industry in a most unflattering light. Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Ben Santer, Tom Wigley, Kevin Trenberth, Keith Briffa – all your favourite Climategate characters are here, once again caught red-handed in a series of emails exaggerating the extent of Anthropogenic Global Warming, while privately admitting to one another that the evidence is nowhere near as a strong as they’d like it to be.
[…]

<1939> Thorne/MetO:
Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical
troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a
wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the
uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these
further if necessary […]
<3066> Thorne:
I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it
which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.
[…]
<2884> Wigley:
Mike, The Figure you sent is very deceptive […] there have been a number of
dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC […]

P.S. a thought’s occurred, and I doubt I’m the first one it’s occurred to. The last time this happened as around this time last year, shortly before the COP15 climate junket/meeting in Copenhagen (will these fuckers lecturing us all about emissions from travel ever teleconference one of these things?) and here we have it all happening again just a few days before COP17 in Durban. Interesting timing. Does Big Eco’s R&D section have it’s own Deep Throat, unhappy at something going on there and carefully choosing content and times to leak for maximum effect? I can only speculate, but the advice of the original Deep Throat still applies: follow the money. How many of the people sending, receiving or CC’d in on these emails would be out of a job if man made catastrophic warble gloaming turns out to be nonsense? And that’s just the R&D parts of Big Eco – the same applies to those involved in marketing, admin and production. Hell, if my career and future income depended on everyone believing the sky was going to burn I’d be saying it too.