Labour “Debate”

Tory suggestion that perhaps we shouldn’t be subsidising people to live in the smartest parts of town (perhaps aware that such subsidies create artificial demand and therefore keeps the rent/house-price artificially high to everyone’s detriment) and set a limit of £400 a week on rent which is MORE THAN MOST WORKING PEOPLE, whether renting or mortgaging spend on their housing.

Labour calls this “social cleansing” of the poor, likening it to the “final solution” and threatening millions of homeless. And they’re not joking. They Actually think this is evil.

Why should I or someone who’s earning minimum wage and living in a studio in Hearne Hill, commuting into the centre for the job be subsidising someone to live in Knightsbridge, when neither of us can afford to live there?

Why? Can you explain why suggesting the non-working poor move to join the working poor in a grottier suburb, one perhaps less convenient for the central business district, is like the holocaust? Can you imagine anyone of the right suggesting that welfare slavery promoted by Labour is like the gulags without being accused of Hysteria. Can you explain to the cleaner why someone who’s not working should live somewhere the cleaner would NEVER be able to afford?

Dan Hannan has it right. The left really does think the right is evil. I, however think leftism is a mental illness, part self-loathing, part fear and the rest a Stockholm syndrome about wishing to pay more tax. Leftism is ambivalece towards the poor: I think the left despise the poor, and don’t believe the poor are capable, which is why the policies espoused to solve the problem of poverty will always be PEOPLE LIKE THEM forcing the poor to mend their ways and be grateful for the hand-outs good people deign to give them. I think the left is fearful of competition, what might be proved better, which is why the free-market is an anathema. If a free market gives freedom to demonstrate preferences of which the Lefty disapproves (smoking, drinking, low-brow culture, home-ownership etc…) then that would challenge his world-view, which is that everyone SHOULD be like him. The lefty, when challenged always retreats into THATCHER, EVIL,CUTS, JOB-LOSSES, whilst the righty is calmly pointing out that every job saved through “social protection” costs at least one not made in the first place. The Lefty won’t, can’t listen, because he’s on a 2-minute hate, motivated by fear, a lack of confidence and self-loathing springing from distaste at his emotions towards the people he claims to be trying to help.

I don’t hate lefties, (some of my best friends are lefties) but I do hate the way they do business, and I do think they’re deeply, pathetically wrong. The right may not be OF the poor, though many of us are, but we are FOR the poor, those who want to be free, anyway.

In Which the Dude takes ACTION!

Mr Eugenides said it first, and I heartily concur with his response to the proposal that all PAYE salary goes to the Taxman who then deigns to give you an allowance: a response of FUCK OFF.

Anyway as he’s said everything that needs to be said about this disgusting proposal, I thought I would DO something about it. So here’s the text of the letter I wrote to my MP.

I am sure you have seen the Telegraph report about an idea that the HMRC takes one’s monthly salary and then gives you back what it thinks you should have “to reduce errors”.

This is one of the most disgusting, totalitarian proposals I have ever seen; It would shame the last “Government” and shows that there are people in this administration too who don’t understand the correct role of the state: the SERVANT of the people, not our MASTER. I am having trouble writing to you about this without using Anglo-Saxon invective. Are we Tories civil-libertarians, or not? Are there really people so trusting of the all-powerful state who can’t see anything wrong with this?

Can you reassure me that it’s not a serious proposal so I can shelve plans to emigrate to somewhere business-friendly and free, like North Korea, or Cuba?

Furthermore would It be possible to find out who came up with this revolting proposal, so I can campaign to have them removed from whatever post they may hold?

I will keep you updated as to the response.

Labour and the Fall of Man.

I have long argued that the most destructive thing ever to happen to human happiness was the discovery and development of agriculture. In return for much larger populations on any given piece of land, we lost freedom, heath and happiness. The evidence is there in the fossil record. Healthy hunter-gatherers had teeth until they died around 60 years of age. They suffered breaks and injury, but were nursed back to health. It was not, as Hobbes suggested, “Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” life. It was relaxed, happy, lazy and healthy. With natural abundance and a low population, there was nothing to fight over – people simply moved into unpopulated areas in search of game. Subsistence farmers on the other hand were (and still are) lucky to make it to 40, and rarely had any teeth when they died. Disease from living with animals, malnutrition from over dependence on a small number of food sources and an inability to move in response to local shortages were (and still are) part of the lot of settled subsistence agriculturalists. Famines, war, death and disease were (and still are) the lot of peasants.

Humans evolved in bands of relatives, perhaps numbering 30 individuals. Everyone knew everyone else and co-operated naturally. Because agriculture, especially its early iterations was a tenuous activity it benefited from top-down organisation – the management of grain storage, the defense of land and the building of irrigation required the co-option of humans natural ability to co-operate into a system where power flowed down a hierarchy. Religions ceased to be polytheistic and nature-worshipping, and became monotheistic and restrictive, especially in relation to women, who became chattels. Castes of warriors, priests and bureaucrats were able to lord it over the peasantry who toiled in the fields.

Our Hunter-Gatherer forebears were able and willing to care for a sick or injured friend without the need for a potentate to tell them to do so, even though such a friend might be a burden on the community for many years. On the other hand, the atrocities settled agricultural societies have heaped upon each other in war, conquest and the imposition of ridiculous ideas is a monstrous litany of misery, torture, suffering and death imposed from above by the actions of demagogues seeking power and manipulating the natural co-operation of people for base and ignoble ends. Top-down government with a bureaucracy facilitates horrors more than anarchy, where people form their own order spontaneously.

Despite the small, weedy, bow-legged and diseased populations of spirit-broken people, their much greater density allowed agricultural populations to easily shift hunter-gatherers off land and co-opt the passing waves of nomadic pastoralists which occasionally swept over them. Despite the misery, agriculture, and the top-down organisation inevitable in these societies, survived.

The happy time – a folk memory of a hunter-gatherer past – survives in religious myths of the Garden of Eden which has analogues in many other cults and religions around the world. The serpent tempts man into knowledge which causes his expulsion from paradise. Power over nature, in the form of agriculture, did not bring happiness. It is this move from natural self-organisation to authoritarian tyranny which removed most peoples’ opportunity for self-actualisation and it is this tyranny which has created the misery which has been the human lot ever since.

This misery of most of the human species, occurred despite gradually increasing material plenty. Over the past 10,000 years, improving farming methods have delivered increasing yields: New crops and livestock species, ploughs, beasts of burden, crop-rotation but until the industrial revolution, and even more importantly the subsequent green revolution of high-technology, high-yield agriculture, the vast majority of human kind have been stuck in this hell of subsistence agriculture. What changed in response to a better harvest is the increasing number of thugs the local potentate can feed from the surplus, or the extravagance of the priestly castes in their temple building programs. Occasional wars and destruction caused by waves of disease did the destruction before the inevitable Malthusian catastrophe.

The industrial revolution changed everything, and did so as fundamentally as the development of agriculture in the Indus, Yellow River and Mesopotamia all those thousands of years ago. For the first time since then, the majority of people on the planet are not subsistence agriculturalists, they do something else.

The trick society has to pull off is use this ‘once in a 10,000 year’ shake-up of civilisation to create something that runs with human nature rather than build yet another society which needs invent savage religions and tyrannical impositions of state control to try and force people to go channel their naturally co-operative nature against their own interests. Agriculture and the societies it created were a response to periodic shortages. We, in the affluent west at least have solved the shortages and now have abundant plenty, as our hunter-gatherer forefathers did for 250,000 years before they were expelled from the Garden. It’s now crucial to work out what created this plenty, and even more crucial to work out what did NOT create this plenty. Human ingenuity which allowed the scattering of seeds to ensure a crop would grow in the same place next year, through irrigation, the plough, the saddle and harness, crop rotation and so on to the steam engine and Internet, it is the endless seeking of a better way of doing things by people which created the plenty. Whilst top down societies were necessary in the early phase of agricultural development because of the need to ensure the surplus is kept and the need to organise the defense of scarse resources; since the industrial revolution, the LEAST authoritarian societies have become the richest. Free market capitalism channels humans innate potential for co-operation from the bottom up. Companies making things and providing services, have driven progress; not, emphatically not, kings, governments and states directing things from the top down.

The Industrial revolution flourished in the 18th century United Kingdom, which believed that that state should only exist to defend its borders. Its ideas spread, not least because the vast surplus wealth it created allowed for the creation of the largest Empire the world has ever seen. And that empire was mostly bought, not conquered. The technology of the industrial revolution came from people, not states. The same is true of the Internet and communications revolutions. Of course states have had a role in facilitating, but without the self-organisation of companies of people motivated by curiosity and profit (let’s call them ‘businesses’, shall we?) there would be no Rail road, no television, no cheap bread and no car.

Now modern government evolved from the people who brought you such advances of civilisation as the Motte and Bailey Castle and the Harrying of the North. Government’s aim is the extraction of as much from the economy as possible. In medieval terms, this was then used for self-aggrandising projects like securing the throne of France for the English king or Vice Versa. However in England, the Barons, and later the Commons realised that the tyrannical imposition of royal vanity must be held in check, first for the good of the barons, and then for the good of the people. Government, insofar as it affected day to day life, withered away in the UK and the country prospered as a result.

Britain’s decline can be traced to the moment that the income tax was retained after the Napoleonic wars. After WW1, the state got involved with education and pensions, after WW2 the state destroyed the highly effective health and welfare systems which relied on mutual assistance. Similar narratives can be constructed for most countries. Government, who have a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence has used technological advance and bureaucracy to make money flow to that power. The technology and habit of bureaucracy has allowed states around the world to take between 1/3 and 1/2 of all the productive energy of its citizens in the form of tax.

Now I am not here to argue that there should not be a state. Nor will I argue that some things aren’t best financed out of taxation. But what I will argue for is a new sort of Government. One that respects its role as protector and facilitator – deliverer of the public goods of law & order, secure borders and a sound currency and DELIVERING little else. Funding health and education out of taxation too MAY make sense, but allow people to DELIVER it themselves. The state is emphatically not there to ensure its citizens behave themselves, or be “productive”. People self-organising will do that. Nor is it to ensure that the goods and services available to the people are equally distributed. No government has achieved that, and any attempt to do so leads to economic collapse or a nomenclature who live in opulence amongst a slave population of miserable serfs. Government should not, as Elizabeth I observed “seek to reach into men’s souls”. Nor should it seek conformity to an arbitrary set of societal norms, be that conformity to an established church or a ‘productive’ set of economic behaviours. It should instead seek to reduce the stress of life, by removing burdens of taxation and the layers of obstusificating bureaucracy. Instead the state should be providing a protected space allowing people to self-organise as they will according to a simple, easily understood set of Laws.

Government, in seeking to be the King who provides, seeks to act in the same way as the aristocratic and priestly castes did in Mesopotamia 10,000 years ago and with the same result in term of human misery. People are not ‘people’ they are economic units to be fought over, controlled and taxed. Because ‘the state’ provides whether you want it or not, the state will see to it that you work, whether you want to or not. Top down bureaucracy seeks to influence behaviour – for our good maybe, but who ever thinks they’re evil? So smoking bans, drug prohibition and laws saying when you can and cannot go and have a pint in the pub all limit the possibility of human happiness. Sure, in some stressed societies of marginal people who exist on state handouts, getting off one’s face is all they have. The desire therefore to see that no-one starves perversly sees to it that everyone starves morally.

The state’s charity crowds out the private charity, to the detriment of the welfare recipient’s self-actualisation and the good feeling that altruistic good work generates in the giver. In seeking to alleviate poverty, the government then feels it has an economic stake in everyones’ good behaviour and seeks to alter it, by force if necessary.

Supporters of the cradle to grave welfare state have visions of Victorian England’s workhouses as what would happen if there were no welfare state to support people. But that was a society crushed not only by a state bureaucracy as much as a stultifying state morality which achieved the same ends. The work-house was not the Dickensian horror, Dickens exaggerated, but the foundling hospitals were. And both were state run. They replaced a much more satisfactory system the poor being in receipt of benefit from their neighbours, being ‘on the parish’ which did not tolerate free loaders, but also supported those who could not support themselves – a self-organised, local system. “Wouldn’t work today”, I hear you cry? Switzerland operates a similar system, and that’s not exactly a hell-hole is it?

And what of the costs of the system? Not just economic costs engendered by a state which allows, nay encourages the poor to engage in destructive and misery making behaviour, but also in the costs imposed by the state having a stake in everyones’ private behaviour. Every time you get chucked out of a full pub at “closing time” the state has impinged on your life. Can’t hear yourself think in the pub with the late license? That’s because the late license comes with an obligation to provide “entertainment” lest you just stay and drink. The state is emphatically imposing its will upon you. And that was because the Government wanted to influence the productivity (and these being purse-lipped late-Victorians, morality too) of munitions workers during WW1. The law has stuck, because the dam of allowing the Government to look into men’s souls had been broken. The bureaucratic state comes with regulations about who can live where, with whom and to what end. Whether you’re shagging your tennant matters in terms of what benefits you recieve, and do you think the state should have any rights in your bedroom of your own home? The need to finance the welfare state comes with a need for the majority of the population to tithe 50% of everything we produce to the government. The most tyrannical king in ancient history would have baulked at that. That is a cost not just in economic terms, but in spiritual ones too. For the majority of that money goes in financing a bureaucracy whose ends are control of the population leading to stress, thwarted ambition and misery.

How has the Labour party, once the party of workers’ co-operatives become the party of the state bureaucratic leviathan, with all the coercive violence that entails? How has the global left been so completely co-opted by the successors to the kings and potentates they once resisted? How can the hypocrisy of leftist moralising be accepted by a sane brain without spitting it out? The labour party in seeking to control every facet of peoples lives (for our own good) via a massive and intrusive surveillance infrastructure controlled by a bureaucracy accountable only to itself. The Labour party is therefore the representative of everything which has made people miserable, diseased, powerless and poor since the fall of man 10,000 years ago.

Freedom to self-organise. The smallest bureaucracy you can get away with. State funding a bit of desirable stuff, but emphatically NOT providing. By not providing for people, it has no incentive to control the rest of us. We, not the Government will provide for the poor, as we used to before the work house, before the bureaucratic tyranny of the state got involved in herding them into workhouses, slums and council estates. John Donne:

No man is an island, entire of itself
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
it tolls for thee…

I just want the state to leave me alone. That does not mean I want to sit in a cave eschewing company and hoarding baked bean tins awaiting the revolution. It means I don’t want to have anyone control my moral and economic choices, which include my moral and economic choice to serve my fellow man, which I would do were there any money and energy left over once I’ve paid my tax bill. That is why I hate the Labour party – for they are seekers of control, just like and for the same reasons as the first kings of the first city states. Labour are therefore the intellectual descendants of the architects of man’s fall from grace and the bringers of misery, hate, envy and thwarted ambition and wasted human potential, for the last 10,000 years. Human freedom is the paradise of the Garden of Eden was all about, Labour: the agents of the devil, offering fake sustenance which merely brings doom. Which makes Gordon Brown the serpent. Which makes Ed Balls, a skin louse on that serpent. Which is a metaphor I like. That is why I am a libertarian.

The Dance of the Dutch Skimmers

For anyone who didn’t hear it last night, I was on Radio 4’s the World Tonight yesterday, talking about BP, though there’s only so much you can get over in 2 minutes!

Right about the time Tony Hayward faced the shakedown from the House Committee, I mentioned the Jones act. This piece of 1920’s pork-barrel protectionism was preventing sophisticated Dutch skimmer ships, 4 of them, apparently with sufficient capacity to clean up 146,000 barrels of oil per day (the flow before the well was capped last night was around 50,000 barrels per day, of which about half was being recovered) from dealing with the Macondo spill because they are not US registered vessels with American (unionised) crews.

In addition, American environmental legislation aims to prevent ANY spill of oil, means the best is the enemy of the good. The skimmers are about 97% efficient, which means as they pump sea water back into the ocean there is a trace of oil left in it. This means anyone taking 100 barrels out of the water and putting back in 3 would be guilty of putting 3 barrels of oil into the water and be fined anywhere between $1,000 and $4,300 per barrel.

Both the ridiculous Jones act and the tight environmental protection legislation which is not designed to cope with desasters could have been eased by presidential fiat and these ships could have been skimming oil from the water BEFORE it reached shore, a week after the blow-out preventer failed. Instead we had dither and delay.

Having technology like the Dutch skimmers should also allow us to feel more comfortable about allowing deepwater drilling. If the skimmers work then it greatly lowers the environmental risks from future oil leaks in deep water. One advantage to deepwater wells is they are typically very far from shore, giving a long response time to clean up the problem. There would be no need to have a moratorium on deepwater drilling and having 50,000 people loose their jobs

Of course, it might not have been incompetence. It may have been a political calculation: Obama cannot defy the unions, who like the Jones act; he cannot defy the environmental lobby and suspend some environmental regulations for expediency; and his party’s left wing (of which he is a part) wants to end Offshore drilling anyway. This is of no political concern to him: Oil Workers don’t tend to vote democrat, and it’s all concentrated in red states, so who gives a shit about the red-necks Appalachian-Americans anyway? The deepwater horizon disaster gave the president an opportunity, and in taking it he revealed himself to be the chippy, left-wing union bitch his detractors always thought him to be. Perhaps he sacrificed the louisianna shoreline to create a stick to beat “big oil”, and pay off some of his backers.

However 3 days before the well was capped the legal changes were made on the quiet and the Ships are now cleaning up oil. It’s a bit late, and smacks of arse-covering.

This isn’t over: whilst for the first time in 3 months, there is no oil floating from the sea-floor in the Gulf of Mexico, but BP are still merely testing the well to see if it will leak under pressure should the valve be turned off. There is just a few feet of rock between the bore and the relief wells. There is still much that could go wrong and capping the well now is and remains a risk – the safe option would be to do nothing to jeapordise the releif well operation, and increasing the pressure in the well certainly doesn’t help. Should the well-head crumble there would be much more than 25,000 barrels a day of oil going into the sea, and almost nothing BP could do about it until they can kill the well hopefully in 3 week’s time.

Of course the economics and politics forced BP to take this calculated risk – $4,300 per barrel (does anyone think BP will get away with anything other than the maximum fine?) and 25,000 barrels per day, that’s $107,500,000 per day or a Billion dollars every 9 days in fines alone. With BP’s partners Mitsui, Anadarko and Moex refusing to pay their share of the cleanup costs, and Halliburton all being allowed to deny any responsibility; as Transocean continues to pay dividends to its shareholders whilst Exxon lies through its teeth saying “of course we would NEVER have done this that way…” BP shoulders the burden of this spill, not entirely of its own making, alone. And nothing the President has done has served to cap the well quicker or keep the black stuff of the Beaches of Louisiana. For Obama read everyone in American politics who is up for election in November. The US media has been hysterical on the issue, and as a result, every politician in the house, 34 of 100 senators and 36 Govenors are all having a “let’s beat up BP” mainly to avoid attack ads “Bob J. Clusterfuck III let BP drill in the Gulf… Don’t vote for him”. Everyone’s just serving his own base politics.

It’s about time BP had some luck. I hope the cap works and this is over (except for the cleanup) by August, and I hope American politicians grow up on November 3 and remember the little thing called the rule of Law.

Budget reaction

For anyone looking for my reaction to the budget, they could do worse than going to Mr Eugenides’ place, where there is some glorious invective.

This speech is essentially an extended “fuck you” to his predecessors…. Vince Cable looks like he’s swallowed a shit-flavoured landmine.

The cuts are coming thick and fast – thick and fast enough to gladden the hearts of all bloggertarians, and enrage lefties everywhere… If only this presaged a wholesale assault on the size of the state, rather than applying a tourniquet to the gushing wounds inflicted by the witless fuck-muppets who came before.

I hope there isn’t a TV in whatever psychiatric ward Gordon currently resides.

Or you could peruse my Twitter feed. Up to you.

Those Tory “Betrayals”.

The Government plan to allow the payroll to vote in the 1922 Committee is a matter of Internal Tory governance. Parties are not in the constitution, they’re a convenience which allows the first Lord of the Treasury to command sufficient support in the House of Commons to pass the Budget and the Queen’s speech. Only Labour, which puts party above country, gets all misty-eyed about its internal affairs.

Nor is the Fixed term parliament a constitutional change. It is an agreement between coalition partners.

So whilst I disagree with the 55% vote needed to secure a dissolution, and the plan to allow ministers to swamp backbenchers in the 1922 Committee disappointing, but not exactly the end of the world. When you consider that the Great repeal bill (a Tory idea, though Nick Clegg seems to be doing all the talking) is still going ahead. This will scrap ID cards, Databases and promises a “bonfire of unnecessary laws which make criminals of ordinary people”. In this will be the free vote on Fox-hunting which may not get passed because of the tight parliamentary arithmetic. This is as promised – not as I keep hearing “a Betrayal”, and the “Tories bending over for the Lib-Dems”.

Fucking get a grip people. We’re in coalition Government, not opposition. Labour, who RUINED THE COUNTRY are out of Government. Hosannah in the Highest. Rejoice! Stop focussing on the petty, small and insignificant things which you don’t like and have a look at the big picture.

So CGT is going to go up. Who Cares? It’s a tax on people too mean to pay for advice and entirely voluntary unless you’re VERY rich, in which case, you have the option of holding on to your assets or going short (unless you’re German). It should be at your marginal rate. Why should capital gains be protected if earned income isn’t? If you start up a business, there are reliefs available so it isn’t a tax on entrepreneurship. Does any Tory SERIOUSLY disagree with the Liberal plan to raise the Income Tax threshold to £10k? I’ve argued in favour of it several times. If this means VAT goes up, then so be it. We’re broke and all that stuff the Labour party bought on the tick has to be paid for. And that means doing what Maggie did in her first term, and for the same reason: raise taxes because Labour left the cupboard bare.

But it is not all bad news: Home investment packs: gone. Every day, some quango or fake-charity has its funding withdrawn. If they keep saving £1m here and there, eventually they’ll start saving real money. Any public-sector employee earning more than the PM will have to justify his salary. This is BEFORE we get to the £6bn of “Tory Cuts” that the election was about, and BEFORE the great repeal bill, which will save more. At the home office, the CPS, a useless, box ticking organisation staffed by incompetent civil servants and failed Lawyers sees some if its powers returned to police Custody sergeants who will have discretion about whether to charge. The devolution of power to local professionals is beginning.

Europe is going to be the bug-bear of every swivel-eyed monomaniac who will squeal “betrayal” every time ‘Europe’ does something they don’t like, such as … exist. If you think Cameron is going to risk Government over a piffling hedge-fund regulation (which will in any case be watered down), you’re a twat. I don’t like the limits on Hedge-fund manager remuneration and limits to their activities, but ways will be found around it, it will affect a tiny number of Very rich people and, like all European financial regulation, will promise a lot, and deliver very little. My guess it will achieve the sum total of fuck-all. Osborne would be crazy to use political capital which he will need for more important battles ahead to fail to stop what was a done deal before he got the keys to No. 11.

This Government is committed to reducing the burden of the state on the average punter, and has quietly, without fuss and efficiently let its actions do the talking. We’ve got so used to endless spin and dissemination, that people who never liked Cameron anyway aren’t focusing on what’s being DONE.

LibCon coalition government: Not perfect, but infinitely better than Labour.

Protection on the Left Flank

The Labour party demonstrated its attitude to the Liberal Democrats after the election: They thought that the other left of centre party was theirs for the taking, and any Lib Dem votes could be added to theirs in an ‘anti-Tory alliance’. This was true for about a third of Lib Dem voters. Tories make the same mistake with UKIP.

When asked what they wanted to see from the election the voters seemed to indicate that a hung parliament was their favoured option, and that a Lib-Con alliance was what they wanted to see. Whilst I wanted to see a big Tory majority, I am disgustingly satisfied with most of what’s come out of the Government since the election. This poses a problem for the Political blogger. I have no-one to rant against. I am reduced to apologising and defending government actions against people that disagree. So If you think you’re going to see right-wing firebrand ranting against the CGT raise, you won’t. I don’t agree with the policy. But as it’s (1) Temporary (2) a simplification in that it’s a tax at the same rate as income taxation & (3) ‘paying for’ a rise in the income tax threshold to £10k, I think I can let it slide.

And this is the point of Coalition. If I can be persuaded that some dodgy policies are necessary, at least in the short term, imagine what the Liberal Democrats in Government are doing to the left. As I mentioned above, the Labour party HATE the Tories. But they will not be able to muster the passion in their activists against the EVIL Tories because their fellow-travellers have got into Government too.

Maybe it will force the Labour activist base to reappraise their view of Tories as evil, rich class enemies. Many Labour people assume Tories are naturally authoritarian. We are not. We are only interested in ‘the rich’. We are not. We are bigoted. We are not. And perhaps because the Liberal Democrats have seen this, eventually the Labour party will too. In the mean time, the leftist opposition will be blunted by the presence of genuine left wingers, albeit ones who see what needs to be done to fix the country, in Government.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ll see gentlemanly politics return to Westminster, and freedom to the country.

Or am I just demonstrating a hopeless optimism?

The Dude’s view of electoral reform.

Let me be clear. I have an idea of a more proportional system. And I am not going to share it with you because you don’t care any more about my radical scheme to ensure ‘fair votes’ than I do about your hair-brained scheme, such as the one in the comments to the last thread about paying MPs according to Majority.

I can be persuaded as to the merits of some form of PR, but only if there is a lot in it for the party I support, which is why I want the Conservatives to do it (anyone who thinks they don’t think this way is probably lying to themselves). However I remain a supporter of our Current first past the post system which is not, as everyone seems to believe, broken. Does anyone think a Hung parliament with the Tories as the Largest party does not reflect roughly the will of the electorate? Ergo it ain’t broken, so don’t fix it.

One of the things the electorate like about are system is the fact that you vote on Thursday and by friday morning the moving vans are in Downing street. By Lunchtime, the new executive head has banged his tabs in to Brenda and we have a new Government. The immediacy of this process is rare in democracies around the world. This time, people are bewildered that Gordon Brown, the man who Lost the election IS STILL THERE. If they can be persuaded that the undignified horse-trading by politicians after the election is THE KEY FEATURE of proportional systems, then perhaps I will admit that perhaps I was too hasty to surrended to the PR bandwagon.

I will say it again. Democracy is NOT an exercise in accurate tribal head-counting, but an opportunity to chuck the rotters out. Under some forms of PR, the political elite can never be kicked out be the electorate under almost any circumstances, because they get to the top of the list. Even a safe seat can be lost if the electorate are pissed off enough like Tatton in 1997.

Anyway… PR is a side show next to the fucking apalling mess the country’s in thanks to 13 years of disgusting incompetence and malice by the Labour party. I will examine the proposals which are put before us, and if there is to be a change there had better be a referendum. Whilst we can all think of perfect systems, I’m not interested. Suffice to say AV+ is supported by Brown, and is Therefore wrong (Q.E.D.), and STV is an abomination unto God and smells of poo, so I like neither of the systems on offer. The relative merits of various flavours of PR, like internal politics
of the Labour party are things that interest me not a jot.

The Electorate have spoken, Damn Them!

Despite polling stations reporting queues at 10pm, with hundreds of voters too stupid or disorganised to vote earlier were denied access to the polls. The Liberal democrat polling surge turned out to be a surge in responses amongst the 39% of the electorate who think a General Election is an episode of X Factor and can’t be bothered to find out where their polling station is. My greatest dissapointment of the result was the pathetic turnout, for which the British People should be ashamed. We do not deserve to live in a democracy.

Generally the message is “they’re all as bad as each other, innit”, and as a result, not voting is seen as in a typically nihilistic and cynical British way, as the correct option. The truth is that we, the lazy, spoon-fed and ignorant electorate have the Government we deserve. 20 years of Labour lies have left the electorate immune to savage assaults on their civil liberties and willfully ignorant of the real differences between the parties. The Lib-Dems and the Tories share a commitment to civil liberties that goes beyond the labour approach of treating everyone equally as a criminal/terrorist/potential paedophile, whilst using group “rights” as a crowbar in their policy of divide and conquer. Both reasonable parties deplore 42-day detention, ID cards, databases and the creation of the British Democratic Republic of omnipresent CCTV and surveillance by council prod-noses and state-sponsored informants. They are not “all as bad as each other” and I will violently assault the next person to make that assertion for it is merely Labour’s most pernicious and corrupting lie.

For if the Low turnouts of the past few years can be blamed on anything it is this childish attitude. It stems from the New Labour approach in the 1990s to turn a few back-benchers’ misdemeanours (for next to the appalling corruption at the heart of Labour, shagging one’s secretary in a Chelsea shirt, or ‘cash for questions’ has an almost comic innocence) into a belief that the entire Conservative Government was corrupt: the lie that started the rot. Rather than excoriating the stupid, corrupt individuals, the reputation of the Tory party and the entire political system was dragged through the mud for Labour’s base party political ends. Then the Labour party started to Govern. Cash for policies – the ecclestone affair, purchase of honours, the abuse of the immigration system to import Labour voters to “rub the right’s nose in it”, the lies, the incompetence, the constitutional vandalism, the fiscal diarrhoea and the slovenly abuse doled out to political opponents both outside and within the party finally destroyed the reputation of the Labour party too. Of course the dashed hopes of 1997 made this a more painful betrayal for the electorate.

Of course, whilst the Labour party destroyed the country, the smearathon on the motives of the Tory party continued to be effective.

They may have been politically successful, but the failure of the New Labour machine to govern effectively was total. Despite the biggest rise in peace-time taxation in history which occurred during one of its longest booms, Labour was running a massive budget deficit even BEFORE the crash of 2008. The achievements with all this money boils down to reduced productivity, overmanning and public sector waste. Of course there have been improvements, it would be hard to spend that much money (that we don’t have) and there not be, but the gains are not commensurate with the cost.

It is no wonder the people have turned off politics.

Which meant that when the Tories unveiled the most optimistic, decentralising, yes… Libertarian manifesto (I am ignoring the Daily Hail-courting ‘National Service’ plans as a silly dog-whistle) I could have hoped for from a mainstream political party, no-one was listening. Because the Labour party had managed to frame the debate around £6bn of “cuts” as a result of not raising tax which is, apparently, “taking money out of the economy”. This is economic double-think, and the only reason I can think of that it is taken seriously is that the party spouting this nonsense is ACTUALLY IN GOVERNMENT. Had they been talking this piffle from opposition, they would have been rightly derided: just another advantage of incumbency abused by Labour.

Finally, the the fear-mongering amongst public-sector workers, who thanks to Gordon Brown’s decade of fiscal incontinence now make up 50% of the electorate, that the Tories would fire them instantly they won, meant that Labour managed to secure a face-saving and totally undeserved rear-guard defence of seats.

This profoundly negative campaign contrasted with the rather optimistic and naive campaign of the Tories who assumed that the people would take radical policies in Education, taxation, benefits, policing and the Constitution as CHANGE. Cameron relentlessly focused on his policies,though you wouldn’t have guessed from the coverage, which focused entirely on personality. They didn’t believe in Cameron as an agent of “change” because they’ve been looking at Cameron for 4 years, which is a long time in X-factor Britain. And, of course because, so the other Labour lie goes, no-one who went to Eton can be trusted to run a Bath because they’re evil. Talking about policies is “boring, and they’re all the same, and nothing changes, innit”. The lesson: in New Labour’s Britain, only viciously negative campaigning works. Never, ever mention policy.

Because the Tories, who are “just as bad as Labour, innit”, cannot represent “change” another Young public schoolboy of whom the electorate were only dimly aware popped up halfway through the campaign. Nick Clegg did well in the debates and has an interesting set of Policies. The media had decided that Vince Cable, instead of being a self-righteous superannuated socialist, proposing more of the same failed “tax the rich” nonsense, was in-fact something of a Guru. Now they could paint Nick Clegg as “Change” too even though on the manifesto, his offering looked more like “the same old politics” than the Tories’. Under the lib-dems Westminster would become a regional assembly in the EUSSR. He even disagreed with the electorate on the only policy they seem to care about: Immigration.

Never let the facts get in the way of a Media Narrative.

Despite their x-factorisation of politics, the truth is the election debates are the only good thing about this whole sorry campaign. At least they caused the electorate to sit up and take notice to the extent they’d indicate to the pollsters that they’d been paying attention. However the end result was an election in which the people have demonstrated that by Apathy they can be persuaded to accept the hellish Benthamite Panopticon that New Labour’s Britain has become, and that If you repeat a lie often enough, the people will accept it. They may tell the Pollsters that they’re going to vote for someone, but in reality they can’t be arsed because “they’re all the same, innit”. The lie factory that is all that remains of New Labour has destroyed British democracy to such an extent that even in the midst of a fiscal crisis caused by reckless Government spending for more than a decade, one and a half hot wars and the most unpopular Government since records began, little over half the electorate can be bothered to vote, because they’ve been persuaded to blame the present crisis on “the banks”, and can’t be bothered to remember the rest.

So what happens now? Parties will have to work together. Cameron will be PM with Lib-Dem help. Despite my support for First Past the Post, some form of electoral reform is now inevitable, if not now, then as soon as the Left next get their hands on the tiller. I would rather the Tories make something lasting, in tune with what is left of the British constitution. So I hope the Tories get into bed with the Liberal Democrats even at the price of some form of PR, in return for their support in getting a Conservative budget and Queen’s speech through and undo some of the Savage assault on civil liberties. I am sure I could be persuaded by multi-member constituencies, so long as they were small enough, and individuals rather than parties remain what you vote for. Counties and equivalent seem the obvious choice for constituencies.

As I write this from a sunny bar in Cyprus, I understand negotiations are ongoing between the Tories and the Lib-dems. Labour cannot be allowed back into Government. That means the Liberal democrats may just get their greatest wish. A Very British Dude reluctantly concedes electoral reform as inevitable, in order that the Tories can start to undo the damage of 13 years of New Labour’s national scat-party. A small price to repay for National renewal.

The Tories must seize the opportunity to mitigate the lunacy of some of the PR proposals as the price of shutting the Labour party out of power for a very, very long time. Conceding defeat to a silly proposal because the electorate however nihilistic and ill-informed have been persuaded of its necessity is a price of Democracy. Electoral defeat is not what Brown and Co. deserve; New Labour deserve to be hanged for treason, not let off with pensions. However forgoing bloodthirsty revenge is another price of democracy.

The people have spoken’ damn them.

Oh. And for the record, I’m in the 39%, because of an almighty fuck-up by my proxy who might get forgiven, if they’re really, really nice to me. This is the first election, local or national since 1997 in which I have failed to vote.

Strengthen Fairness in Communities

“Strengthen fairness in communities” is the fifth and final pledge on Gordon’s GE2010 pledge card. What does it mean? On their website, they use it to mean ‘controlling immigration and giving young people jobs and handing out ASBOs’, but that doesn’t really capture it.

Let’s try to decipher it, shall we. Word by word.

“Strengthen”: strong. Good. bold. People like “strengthening”, especially when you’re strengthening something that is also good, like….

…”Fairness”. Fairness means something very different to a lefty than to a proper person. To most people it means paying their way, working hard, not taking the piss and accepting responsibility for your actions. If you fall on hard times, you will be supported. That is fair. What fairness means to a lefty is “High marginal tax rates on the middle class” and “redistribution”.

So… Where is “Fairness” going to be “Strengthened”? Why “In Communities” of course. Now “Communities” means to most people ‘Where you live’, but to the lefty, it means ‘your identity group’: Gay, Black or other minority ethnic, gender, or economic status. ‘Community leaders’ receive tax-payers money to their organisation and in return, they deliver identity group block votes. Now this strategy is falling apart. Respect is picking up the disaffected Muslim vote, much of the Indian vote has always been Tory, the Gay community appears to be forgiving the Tories for section 28, and so on.


We have a slogan that means “making where you live a bit fairer” to the average punter, and cannot possibly be objected to by anyone any more than a political party will say “we’re against fairness”. “Strengthen fairness in communities” is an anodyne, focussed grouped bit of meaningless marketing hocus-pocus. However to Labour’s pets in the grievance industry, it means delivering tax-payers loot to undemocratic “community groups”.

It’s a dog-whistle.