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Manufacturing and China.

John Redwood, normally so interesting, is reduced to bleating “why don’t we make things anymore?”.

Of course making a “thing” you can drop on your foot is no different economically to providing a service except that the latter cannot be outsourced to secretive slave-labour camps like China which because of “communism” gets a bye from the leftist-inclined world media despite its savage political repression. Unlike the slave-labour camp Myanmar which has the misfortune to be a military Junta with a personable opposition leader, there is no significant world profile for opposition leaders in China. A billion people live in bondage in part because people want cheap “things” and in part because almost all journalists think communism is somehow better than fascism or military rule, when all involve the same repression. In fact, my guess is communism’s worse. I doubt Aung San Suu Kyi would have survived had she had the misfortune to be Chinese. Can anyone think of anyone outside the identikit Grey men of the Politbureau who will be next leader. Clue: it’s not Liu Xiaobo. Though the communist economic choke-hold has been released a bit and the Chinese economy grows at a decent clip. China’s success in using her almost limitless labour supply to supply christmas lights to the west at £6 a time, is not a mark of success. It is the wages of half a century of failure of idiotic economic ideas and political savagery.

So poor countries like China with a highly centralised state CAN persue export-led growth by applying western developed technology and nailing them together using extremely cheap labour and currency manipulation. However, John Redwood would, presumably like her Majesty’s subjects in the UK to remain free? To remain rich? And he’s against currency manipulation. So how, exactly does he propose that we compete against the chinese? And who is going to buy our manufactured goods if we did persue this strategy? It’s not the average Chinese worker – he couldn’t becaue the Renminbi is kept artificially low and black market currency trading is punishable, as so much in China, by death.

If China’s exports aren’t a demonstration of the superiortity of Manufacturing, then what is? Manufacturing does not lead to stability – manufacturing goods is one of the most cyclical sectors. Nor does it generate many high-paid jobs, especially if you want high productivity too. Nor are manufactured goods any more “real” than services. How is cooking a steak in a resteraunt less “real” than making rubber dog shit? The real root of the wish for things to be made in the UK is ignorance of what a service economy actually is, xenophobia and nostalgia for an industrial working class, which has gone.

The idea that exporting manufactured goods is the most important economic measure is no less idiotic than the idea that Agricultural land is still the root of all wealth. Agriculture was indeed the root of wealth, until 1750 or so, then manufacturing took over until about 1965. Services – the businesses of ideas and information is the root of wealth now. It’s about who controls the information and has the ideas. And that is still the lucky people breathing free air – Britain, her old Commonwealth, Western Europe and North America who are designing things to be put together by slaves in China who get the most economic benefit from the process.

So John Redwood is wrong. The only way British people could supply those Chrismas lights for £6 would be if we were extremely poor – too poor, in fact to buy them. Like the Chinese who make them.

Farewell to the Devil…

…So the Devil has joined Mr Eugenides in throwing in the Towel.

There’s still all manner of socialist lunacy to oppose at all levels of Government. Even if I am broadly in agreement with this Government’s approach, there are councils, there are celebrities, there are unions, there are people who’ve lived high on the fat of a profligate government now bleating about “cuts”. They are parading the bleeding stumps of the poor, in many cases kept poor by those policies they’re bleating about cutting. These are the people who need opposing – the needlessly entitled client state that Labour built – help the Coalition smash it.

Of course if your demands are “dismantle the entire edifice of the state by next tuesday” you’re always going to be dissapointed. If you cannot see any benefit from the EU, and think it THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE, and see plots and betrayal where I see a pragmatically skeptical Government which has more important things to do than tilt at the EU windmill, you’re always going to be angry. The election, as far as I am concerned produced a result which may, in time, result in a good government. So I too am losing the rage and throwing rocks at opposition politicians (metaphorically speaking I don’t want to end up prosecuted for “threatening communication”) is less fun than it was when they ran things.

The oppositional mindset of the Blogger prior to May was about the savage assualt on civil liberties. Now, its about whining that you have to stand on your own two feet once more as the state removes the comfort blanket. The blogosphere is going to be a much diminished thing if Liberal Conspiracy is in the vanguard and all it is bleating about is ‘cuts’.

Of course, I will miss the Devil’s cathartic ranting ond forensic foul-mouthed fisking. He’s a good mate in meatspace too. However as someone somewere said “Blogging is like the Hotel california: you can check out, but you can never leave”. The devil will return, of that you can be sure.

Some of you may have noticed a drop off in the volume of posting here. Of course when I am inspried, I write, when I am not, I don’t. At the moment I am busy and Travelgall is away for a couple of weeks. Rest assured, we will stay in harness at least until the Labour corpse stops twitching. I may not be directly opposed to the Government, I am, after all, a card-carrying Conservative. I am, and always will be opposed to “the state” insofar as it affects me and my life, whether by enabling corporate fuckwittery, or by rapacious taxation, or by poor, illiberal law-making.

The Government is not libertarian. The state is still consuming over 50% of GDP. Tax is over 40% of GDP. The civil liberties outlook is, like the country’s finances merely getting shittier at a slightly reduced rate. There is still much for the Libertarian blogosphere to do.

Drug Decriminalisation, again.

Another day, another sensible person in the public eye bravely puts his head above the parapet and says “isn’t it time we decriminalised recreational drugs for personal use?” In this instance, it’s Chairman of the Bar Council, Nicholas Green QC. I wonder if he’s to suffer the same fate as the unfortunate professor Nutt.

A growing body of comparative evidence suggests that decriminalising personal use can have positive consequences. “It can free up huge amounts of police resources, reduce crime and recidivism and improve public health. All this can be achieved without any overall increase in drug usage. If this is so, then it would be rational to follow suit.

In the Telegraph’s report, we get the same facile rent-a-quote arguments against this sensible proposal. First up is savagely illiberal Labour crypto-facist and serial Hypocrite, Keith ‘I cannot believe I’m still an MP after the shit I’ve pulled‘ Vaz, who offered the “message” argument:

I am shocked by the suggestion that drugs should be decriminalised for personal use. The legalisation of drugs would simply create the mistaken impression that these substances are not harmful, when in fact this is far from the truth

There’s a law against procuring malfeasance in a public office, Mr Vaz, you corrupt little maggot, and that didn’t prevent you accepting a peerage to vote in favour of locking your co-religionists up for 42 days at a time on a Governmental whim, did it? So you’re shocked that someone expresses an opinion, mr Vaz? I’m shocked you’re not in gaol, fuckwit.

OK, so I’m playing the man, not the ball there, but the law is about setting the boundaries of acceptable behaviour, and the savage penalties for drug use are out of all proportion to the harm they do, especially when compared to Alcohol. The law is not there for public health, and shouldn’t seek to protect people from themselves. It should certainly not be used to “send a message”, because the law is a powerful, but blunt tool that can bitterly oppress. The law creates victims if overused. It should not be used to express disapproval.

Next up we’ve got the “slippery-slope” argument from Tory MP James Clappison.

There seems to be a very strong link between recreational drug use, leading to drug addiction leading to crime fuelled by drug addiction. I would have thought the chairman of the Bar Council would have seen that for himself.

How many people have tried Canabis and never tried any other illegal drug? The answer to that question blows the slippery slope argument out of the water. Some 25% of young people enjoy a joint. Fewer than 10% report use of anything else, though the article linked seems to claim that this does show a slippery slope! If that won’t wash, try anecdotal evidence: How many people were enthusiastic tokers at University and then don’t touch anything else afterwards? The slippery slope argument is facile.

Next up, we’ve ex-Asda checkout boy and wet-back Tory MP Phillip Davies who offers the “well why don’t we legalise crime argument”:

It is a ludicrous argument to say let’s legalise drugs to take pressure off the police and the courts. That is an argument to legalise everything.

No it isn’t because one chap selling another chap something he wants does not create a victim. Why are we policing something that thousands of people take regularly the vast majority of whom do not cause problems? Why are we prosecuting people for possession of small amounts for personal use, when moderate canabis, extasy or cocaine use causes less problems than Alcohol, which leads to blood and vomit on every high street in Britain every friday night?

MPs shouldn’t ask “why should we legalise”? they should ask “why are we banning when we allow people to get pissed”. An absurd percentage of the court’s time is taken up with “drug-related” offences. Legalising the trade would remove a hugely profitable industry from organised crime, remove profits which are fought over by rival gangs, remove the introduction to criminals by otherwise law-abiding users and allow users to be confident in what they are taking. Legaised drugs would be safer, less harmful, create less crime AND help the exchequer. The Governmnet would have lower enforcement costs (by some billions a year) AND have a revenue stream they could tax.

Inevitably when this subject is covered in the papers we get some Mother who’s son (usually it’s ‘died’, but in this case it’s merely) developed “severe personality changes” when he started smoking canabis at 14. First, is there any evidence that Canabis causes mental health problems. Yes, but it’s not certain that Canabis is worse than Alcohol in this regard. But Post hoc Ergo Propter Hoc – find me a teenager who doesn’t develop “severe personality changes”! Of course no-one’s going to pretend recreational drugs are good for you. But it is a personal choice. And in this instance, a developing brain is more likely to be kept from dope, were it legal and the trade regulated. This is NOT an argument against decriminalisation, but an appeal to the emotion of the reader.

Every argument against decriminalisation falls down because the assumption is that banning has any effect at all on supply, and a negative effect on demand. It doesn’t. If you’re in a town in the small hours, illegal drugs are easier to come by than legal alcohol. If you’re 14, illegal drugs may be easier to get than booze. There are many pieces of evidence that if you want to reduce USE, especially amonst the young, then legalisation or decriminalisation are the way to go. I’ve dealt with this in more detail here, but principally it boils down to the fact that the easiest way to sustain a habit is to become a dealer. This leads to a highly efficient pyramid marketing and distribution scheme.

If you want to reduce harm, then safe, legal and regulated drugs are the way to go. If you want to reduce crime, then remove the profits from THE MOST PROFITABLE TRADE THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN from organised crime and give it to businesses which pay tax and produce safe, reliable products. As well as improving the health of the users, This will reduce enforcement costs, which can be redeployed elsewhere, and the create revenue. Much drug related crime is fighting over the profits. Remove the profits, remove the crime.

Anyone who cannot see this is an idiot. Anyone who thinks there’s a moral issue here about what should be allowed in the face of these utilitarian arguments is a cunt. It really is that simple.

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.

People don’t like paying tax!

(Via) I find an interactive map which tracks the movement of Americans around their country. And the interesting thing is the migration from blue states to red. The reason is state income taxes. Basically Americans can flee states with high income taxes and move to get better standards of living by paying less tax.

As can Europeans.

Of course this will come as a surprise to socialists who think that the lovely boondongles of free at the point of delivery healthcare and education are sufficient to make people want to pay more tax. That might wash for some idiots committed to their beliefs (though I’ll be surprised if his or anyone else’s tax return actually contains a voluntary extra payment). But most people want to pay as little as possible.

The people with the most ability to move are, of course, the wealthy. The wealthy, rather than “taking more out” of society, actually pay disproportionate amounts of tax and use services provided much less than their poorer neighbours. High marginal tax rates push these people away, meaning there is in the long-run less money to fund the boondongles socialists so love.

Economic freedom is an important component of freedom, and, yes, a well designed healthcare system (ie not the UK or US) is an important part of economic freedom. But economic freedom also means keeping taxes as low as possible, in order to fund the things that the state does provide best, but let the rest of the people get on with what ever they want to do with the rest. Otherwise, People tend to move, by whatever means necessary from places of high state control to places of low control.

In Britain, socialist fiefdoms like the North of England and the West of Scotland are seeing their brightest and best move south, leaving a broken rump of state-dependent people behind. Socialist ‘paradises’ like the German Democratic Republic for example had to build walls to keep people in, an option not open to California or Glasgow East.

The message is simple. The more you allow other people to become a burden on those who pay for it, the more resentful those who pay will become. The British welfare state is now too big, too generous and too unquestioning for the people who are asked to fund it to do so willingly. If you provide an opportunity to escape – as millions of Britons do each year to southern France and Spain, where the state intrudes much less rudely on one’s life, they will take it.

If you turn a free, prosperous country into an overtaxed panopticon staffed with ghastly bullying state employees in high-viz vests; rich, productive people will leave. The fact that the UK remains a better place to live than former communist countries in Eastern Europe or War stricken African hell-holes like Somalia where most of New Labour’s unchecked immigration is from, is not exactly a ringing endorsement of the experiment in soft totalitarianism.

Low, fair taxes. Less ‘punish the rich rhetoric’ and fewer state prod-noses. And, if you’re George Osborne, don’t raise CGT or abolish higher rate pension tax relief. It may (or probably not) get you a favourable headline in the Daily Mirror, but will only swell the exchequer of Switzerland.

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 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.