Monday, 31 October 2011

Nick Clegg: Truth Inverted

Interviewed on BBC Radio 4 this morning, Nick Clegg, Deputy Traitor, was explaining all about his pet 'fund for growth', a fat wedge of our money, stolen by the state, which he's doling out to businesses, as a means to wean them off the government teat. How handing them tax-payers' money will encourage them to be less dependent on tax-payers' money is not immediately clear. I guess I need to wave a Keynesian wand and utter the magical words "economic fallacy" and it will be thus.

He also chose to trot out a series of ludicrous statements on why this country needs to remain enslaved by Brussels. Apparently it's a form of isolation when you have a functioning democracy in a sovereign state and all the rest of the EU would immediately launch a trade war if we left. He didn't say this last part outright, but it is the constant implication. X million jobs depend on trade with the EU, which would immediately be in jeopardy if we had our independence back.

This is not a weak argument. It is an absurdity masquerading as a weak argument, and it needs to be shot on sight, whenever it pokes its head above the parapet. The pro-Brussels traitors have nothing to justify our enslavement but fear of a big bad world, once we stop allowing Manuel Barroso, Herman van Rompuy and (God help us) Cathy Ashton run our government and return to democracy.

Bring it on.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Nick Clegg: Little Caesar

It's long been noted that the Liberal Democratic Party is a grating misnomer, as it is neither liberal nor democratic, and nothing illustrates this more than its current gauleiter, Nick Clegg.

Writing in the Observer, Nick Clegg reveals the underlying anti-liberal, anti-democratic foundation of his worldview.

Firstly, he believes that the economy must be managed by central planning, especially European central planning. It is unthinkable to him that the economy does not need the guiding hands of kleptocratic meddlers of the statist kind. The 'plan for growth' which the politicos are struggling to find, is simple: stop stealing so much money from us. If the state was not plundering the economy, it would grow, but the economy is like a horse which has been bled almost dry. No wonder it can hardly pull the plough.

Secondly, he writes always in the first person plural, but who is this "we"? It is the government. It is not the people. He knows the people do not support the government's agenda. When he writes: " We will not give up the influence that benefits the British people," he neglects to tag on the truth, which would run: "despite the fact that these same British people are set against our policy regarding the EU, and don't believe such benefits exist at all, and that I am a lying piece of trash with no credibility."

Clegg, as mouthpiece of the Establishment, likes to present his position as 'moderate', against two 'extremes'. This is pure rhetoric. If about half the nation wants to leave the EU, then it is hardly extreme.

Armed guards for merchant ships: the penny finally drops

Oh, let us rejoice! The brain-dead zombie control freaks of the British government have stumbled into a Eureka moment: ships with their own firearms are less likely to fall prey to pirates. Well done! Thus I read:
British merchant ships sailing off the coast of Somalia will soon be able to carry armed guards to ward off pirate attacks, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Sunday.

Britain is one of only a few countries with major shipping fleets to currently ban armed guards on its vessels, alongside the likes of Japan, Greece and the Netherlands.

However, owners of ships from other countries are increasingly putting guards onboard as national navies struggle to combat Somali piracy in the vast Indian Ocean, a problem which is costing the world economy billions of dollars a year.

In an interview with the BBC, Cameron said that Britain now planned to license guards to carry firearms on ships.

"The evidence is that ships with armed guards don't get attacked, don't get taken for hostage or for ransom and so we think this is a very important step forward," Cameron said.

I wonder if there's any chance Cameron will read the evidence that shows the same amazing correlation between armed citizens not getting attacked, taken hostage etc,. compared to disarmed citizens? Of course not.

The other question in my mind is; whose bright idea was it to disarm the merchant ships in the first place?

"Indiscriminate euroscepticism"? Indy hack smells coffee and panics

Steve Richards writing in the Indy, makes one good point. he notes, as is indeed the case, that the Tory call for renegotiating Britain's EU membership is a red herring. There will be no renegotiation. How some Tories have managed to brainwash themselves into believing that this is an option, I don't know. But poor Steve is getting scared:
Britain is marching to a different, more dangerous and yet vaguely defined place. One despondent pro-European Labour MP predicts an in-or-out referendum within five years. We are moving nearer to the illusory freedoms of isolation.
Dangerous? Illusory freedoms of isolation? Here we have the main plank of the pro-Brussels position: Fear. This more than anything else will be the argument they will use to cow the electorate back to subdued subjection. And it's all hogwash.

More than anything else, the political and state powers want us to think we need them, when we do not. They need us. We are the host. They are the parasite. Without us, they die. Without them, we thrive.

Leaving the EU remains unthinkable to the Establishment. So what? They lack imagination. We shouldn't worry too much about convincing them. The better way is to bypass them as the irrelevant relics that they are.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Cash back

Barn-storming Bill.


Sifting for moments from the Parliamentary debate of the other day, Nuttall conjures up a horrifying, Kafkaesque nightmare journey into fear and perplexity.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Lew and Judge Nap

Judge Andrew P. Napolitano talks to Lew Rockwell about American totalitarianism.

Check out Lew's podcast back catalogue

Thursday, 27 October 2011

"Language Arbitrage"?

From Economic Policy Journal:

Guess who got screwed in the 50% haircut?

Those who bought CDS insurance against such a haircut.

The bankster controlled International Swaps and Derivatives Association has ruled that the Greek 50% haircut was "voluntarily" accepted by bondholders so they are entitled to exactly ZERO based on their insurance against such a default.

Of course, this will have nothing to do with banksters not getting paid, if its required. Janet Tavakoli explains that the same thing occurred in 2001 when Argentina defaulted, CDS insurance holders in that default also ended up with zero, when JP Morgan refused to pay off.

But, when JP Morgan was on the other side of the transaction and bought CDS protection against a South Korean Bank, they changed the language of the standard contract so that they would get paid--and did so when the bank went down.

Tavakoli says its called "language arbitrage" by the banksters in the know. The standard contract is written in such a way that most won't get paid off. The top banksters know how the contract will be interpreted if a default occurs and tweak the contract so that they will remain protected. Cute.

Tavakoli's full take is here (Pdf).

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Dear Tories, how are you enjoying the Coalition now?

By now, I mean now that Nick Clegg is laughing in your face? And do you realise that last year's election was the high water mark for you?

After 13 years of Labour, you couldn't win outright. You went chasing after votes from people who hate you and will never support you. The votes you needed, that you could have got, you lost for one reason more than any other, because of your refusal to honour the 'cast-iron' promise to hold a referendum. And now you're like the Macedonians watching, fuming, as your Alexander cosies up with his new-found Persian chums.

I'm no Tory, but I would have voted Tory, if your candidate had responded in the affirmative to my question of whether she would support a referendum on the EU. She didn't even bother to reply. I won't bother asking again. It seems naive to ask a politician what their position is. Like lawyers, they can argue either side of a question, depending on who's paying.

The only threat you have is that if you don't get in, Labour will, and I still can't really see the difference.

Monday, 24 October 2011

The BBC version

It is interesting to contrast what happened in Parliament today with the BBC version of what happened in Parliament today, as now being reported.

The imperative, it seems, for the BBC is at all costs to keep the issue of EU membership as an internal Tory Party squabble. For this to work, no mention must be made of those MPS from the other side of the House who supported the motion.

Certainly the Tory rebellion against the three line whip was large by the standards of these things, but so was the Labour rebellion, which I believe was 25, but I haven't seen confirmation of who voted for democracy yet.

The BBC has a job to do; that is push the Establishment interpretation of events with as much subtlety as it can manage. The fear of the Establishment is that contagion will break through the quarantine and start affecting the population. As long as the narrative holds that this is nothing but a rightwing obsession, then they are safe.

The task of patriots is to recognise this fact, and put aside tribalism, at least on this one issue. It the day ever comes when we do get a referendum, then we will need more than a few Daily Express myths, and we will not be able to rely on any deep-seated animosity towards van Rumpy and Barroso. Neither will slogans like 'British jobs for British workers' take us very far, neither indeed will bewailing red tape. We have to aim higher than this.

111 Democrats; 483 Traitors

I'm proud of the 111 MPs, from both sides, who voted in favour of democracy, and spoke up for the people of this country.

Shame on the 483. You are all a disgrace to this country.

State education: round the houses again

Checking the Parliament website for details of today's debate on whether the people of this country should be allowed a measure of democracy regarding the nation's membership of the EU, or instead be treated as slaves and chattels of a degenerate, despised political establishment, I noticed this HoL debate:
"The House of Lords debated how history is currently taught in UK schools on Thursday 20 October. Could teaching history chronologically be a sensible way to help UK schoolchildren to make sense of the world?"
What would we do without them, eh? Given the Groundhog Day nature of the state schooling debate, I feel justified in repeating what I always seem to be saying. The problem with state education is the first word in that term: state.

To me, it goes without saying that history should be taught chronologically. Indeed, it makes no sense to teach it any other way. The only reason not to want to teach the subject chronologically would be if you wished to dispose of the subject known as history and put in its place some other discipline, disguised as history as part of a covert gramschi-inspired subversion of traditional educational principles.

What is now taught under the name of history is more accurately described as historiography. From the Wikipedia page of that title:
Furay and Salevouris (1988) define historiography as "the study of the way history has been and is written — the history of historical writing... When you study 'historiography' you do not study the events of the past directly, but the changing interpretations of those events in the works of individual historians."
Some of the common topics in historiography are:
  • Reliability of the sources used, in terms of authorship, credibility of the author, and the authenticity or corruption of the text. (See also source criticism).
  • Historiographical tradition or framework. Every historian uses one (or more) historiographical traditions, for example Marxist, Annales School, "total history", or political history.
  • Moral issues, guilt assignment, and praise assignment
  • Revisionism versus orthodox interpretations
  • Historical metanarratives
Now, some note should be made of the above issues within the teaching of history. No one should be taught to believe without question. I suspect, however, the balance has gone way off-kilter, and that rather than imbuing their charges with a healthy scepticism with which to survey the record of the past, modern history teachers have sowed a cynical relativism, whereby nothing can be known for sure, and thus any historical knowledge must be viewed as arbitrary, random, designed to deceive rather than enlighten. In such circumstances, the traditional, chronological approach to history is taken out of the realm of objectivity and becomes instead a specimen for our budding historiographists to dissect, with the added danger that the impression is given that one is free to believe or disbelieve whatever one wants.

As I always say, the state-run centralised system is the problem. Getting rid of it, and enabling the schools to be independent and heterogeneous is the solution. Much as I personally love history, I do not wish to impose this love on everyone else, nor do I want anyone else to have such power over the nation's school children. That the anyone else are so often woolly-headed quasi-marxoids only strengthens the point.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Filth and depravity? What did you expect?

I note a story from the Mail, reporting how 200 of the audience walked out of the Royal Shakespeare Company's performance of 'Marat/Sade'.

I dare say I would have been similarly appalled if I had been in the audience - but then, knowing my likely reaction, wild horses wouldn't have dragged me into the theatre in the first place. It's about the Marquis de Sade - what did you think you were letting yourself in for?

I hope the RSC refuses to reimburse these philistines.

Andrew Rawnsley: posh twat peddling propaganda

If the cap fits ...

With prior apology to anyone other than the target of my ire, I'm a bit of an inverted snob on occasions. Once in a while that BBC patrician voice, larded with lazy superiority, sticks in my craw. So it is that I read Andrew Rawnsley's latest deceitful bollocks in the Guardian, with a curled lip, a snarling grimace and a frisson of jacobin intent.

It's the official version of the Tory 'eurosceptic' struggle. Naturally it supports the Establishment line that leaving the EU cannot happen. It is their Berlin Wall. It can never fall.

Rawnsley's blinkered gaze can only see so much. He certainly cannot grasp the essential issue, which is about Britain's continued membership of the EU. This being unthinkable, he cannot get past the issue of internal Tory disputes:
"Whatever their vintage, it seems to me that they now share a common problem. The Tory Eurosceptics don't know how to cope with success. They have captured the Conservative party almost in its entirety."
Rawnsley's implication is that the eurosceptics should rejoice that they have won! There's nothing left to accomplish. What more could they ask for? He can't imagine what further goals they may have, because, as I've noted, leaving the EU is unimaginable.

For him, euroscepticism should be nothing but a private matter, such as religious faith. There is no implied necessity for action, it is enough merely to confess a euroscepticism of the heart, indeed it is somewhat coarse to espouse it openly.
"In Mr Cameron, the Conservatives have their most Eurosceptic prime minister ever to occupy Number 10. He is more sceptic than Sir John Major, who once talked of putting Britain "at the heart of Europe" and signed the Treaty of Maastricht. Mr Cameron is also more of a sceptic than Margaret Thatcher: the real Thatcher that is, rather than the handbag-swinging myth. Worshippers at the shrine of the Blue Lady often forget that she signed the Single European Act, one of the most integrationist pieces of legislation ever. In William Hague, they have the most sceptic foreign secretary there has ever been and, in George Osborne the most sceptic chancellor."
Rawnsley's comments on Thatcher lack insight. He claims her 'worshippers' forget certain things. Rawnsley forgets certain others, or maybe never knew, such as the struggles within her government, her changing position, the pro-EU coup within her party which toppled her, following the "triple no speech" from the Dispatch Box. Rawnsley is trading on ignorance, pandering to his Observer-reading audience's vanity. He ends his piece by accusing those who wish to leave the burning building of Brussels of being the fire-raisers, rather than those who merely saw the bolts being drawn on the fire doors and smelt the acrid smoke.
"This is the fundamental divide between the prime minister, chancellor and foreign secretary, sceptics who have had to come to terms with the real world and those Tories who still live off-planet."
So, as ever, those of us who look at the evidence and conclude that Britain would be better off outside the EU, whether for economic reasons, democratic reasons, reasons of liberty, history, culture or whatever, or whatever combination of the above, are derided as mad, bad and dangerous to know. The fact that this applies to a growing majority of the people of this country is hardly mentioned, because to Establishment whores like Rawnsley, we don't count.

The Berlin Wall can never fall. Ain't that right, Rawnsley, you posh cunt.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Ron Paul in the Nevada GOP Debate

Ron Paul on form in the recent GOP debate in Nevada.

Entente Decadente

From the YouTube notes:

"The song is from the film Mister Freedom (1968) featured in the box set Le Cinema de Serge Gainsbourg - Musiques de Films 1959-1990. Footage of Serge and Jane Birkin in Slogan (1969), the film where they famously met, then fell in love, and had Charlotte Gainsbourg. Lovely."

Joke of the week: William Hague

I love this line:

"Hague warned fellow eurosceptic Conservative MPs against voting for a referendum in a backbench debate taking place on Monday..."

That says all you need to know about 'euroscepticism'. It is in favour of Britain's membership of the EU, and against letting the people have any say in the matter.

As with a number of prominent Tories, Hague is telling us to forget what he said in the past, and listen to him now.

As for the Tories calling for renegotiation, they are either idiots or knaves. There will be no renegotiation, as everyone who takes an interest knows.

What I find amusing is all the nonsense about imposing the whip. So what? If you, as an MP, obey the whip over your conscience, you have no place in Parliament.

Police State Fun

My chum passes my way an amusing clip of Stephen Colbert on Bill O'Reilly, which I can't embed, but I found this instead, which is sadly more relevant with every passing week.Link

Friday, 21 October 2011

Nick Clegg calls for referendum on EU membership

That's Nick Clegg circa Lisbon Treaty, not Nick Clegg now. Two completely different faces - both bland and dishonest.

I'm happy for him to prove me wrong in Monday's vote - but fat chance of that.

See Cameron caught in a similar lie at Captain Ranty's.

Old Observations

As I Please
Tribune, 8 September 1944

I have before me an exceptionally disgusting photograph, from the Star of August 29, of two partially undressed women, with shaven heads and with swastikas painted on their faces, being led through the streets of Paris amid grinning onlookers. The Star -- not that I am picking on the Star, for most of the press has behaved likewise -- reproduces this photograph with seeming approval.

I don't blame the French for doing this kind of thing. They have had four years of suffering, and I can partially imagine how they feel towards the collaborators. But it is a different matter when newspapers in this country try to persuade their readers that shaving women's heads is a nice thing to do. As soon as I saw this Star photograph, I thought, "Where have I seen something like this before?" Then I remembered. Just about ten years ago, when the Nazi regime was beginning to get into its stride, very similar pictures of humiliated Jews being led through the streets of German cities were exhibited in the British press -- but with this difference, that on that occasion we were not expected to approve.

Recently another newspaper published photographs of the dangling corpses of Germans hanged by the Russians in Kharkov, and carefully informed its readers that these executions had been filmed and that the public would shortly be able to witness them at the new theatres. (Were children admitted, I wonder?)

There is a saying of Nietzche which I have quoted before, but which is worth quoting again:

He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself; and if you gaze too long into the abyss, the abyss will gaze into you.
"Too long," in this context, should perhaps be taken as meaning "after the dragon is beaten."

George Orwell

Old News

Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci were stopped by communist partisans Valerio and Bellini and identified by the Political Commissar of the partisans' 52nd Garibaldi Brigade, Urbano Lazzaro, on 27 April 1945, near the village of Dongo (Lake Como), as they headed for Switzerland to board a plane to escape to Spain. During this time Claretta's brother even posed as a Spanish consul. Mussolini had been traveling with retreating German forces and was apprehended while attempting to escape recognition by wearing a German military uniform. After several unsuccessful attempts to take them to Como they were brought to Mezzegra. They spent their last night in the house of the De Maria family.

The next day, Mussolini and Petacci were both summarily executed, along with most of the members of their 15-man train, primarily ministers and officials of the Italian Social Republic. The shootings took place in the small village of Giulino di Mezzegra. According to the official version of events, the shootings were conducted by Colonnello Valerio, whose real name was Walter Audisio. Audisio was the communist partisan commander who was reportedly given the order to kill Mussolini by the National Liberation Committee. When Audisio entered the room where Mussolini and the other fascists were being held, he reportedly announced, "I have come to rescue you!... Do you have any weapons?" He then had them loaded into transports and driven a short distance. Audisio ordered, "Get down"; Petacci hugged Mussolini and refused to move away from him when they were taken to an empty space. Shots were fired and Petacci fell down. Just then Mussolini opened his jacket and screamed, "Shoot me in the chest!" Audisio shot him in the chest. Mussolini fell but did not die and was breathing heavily. Audisio went near and he shot one more bullet in his chest. Mussolini's face looked as if he had significant pain. Audisio said to his driver, "Look at his face, the emotions on his face don't suit him." The other members of Mussolini's entourage were also executed before a firing squad later that same day towards nightfall.

On 29 April 1945, the bodies of Mussolini, Petacci, and the other executed Fascists were loaded into a moving van and trucked south to Milan. There, at 3:00 am, they were dumped on the ground in the old Piazzale Loreto. The piazza had been renamed "Piazza Quindici Martiri" in honor of 15 anti-Fascists recently executed there.

After being shot, kicked, and spat upon, the bodies were hung upside down on meathooks from the roof of an Esso gas station. The bodies were then stoned by civilians from below. This was done both to discourage any Fascists from continuing the fight and as an act of revenge for the hanging of many partisans in the same place by Axis authorities. The corpse of the deposed leader became subject to ridicule and abuse. Fascist loyalist Achille Starace was captured and sentenced to death and then taken to the Piazzale Loreto and shown the body of Mussolini. Starace, who once said of Mussolini "He is a god," saluted what was left of his leader just before he was shot. The body of Starace was subsequently strung up next to the body of Mussolini.

After his death and the display of his corpse in Milan, Mussolini was buried in an unmarked grave in Musocco, the municipal cemetery to the north of the city. On Easter Sunday 1946 his body was located and dug up by Domenico Leccisi and two other neo-Fascists. Making off with their hero, they left a message on the open grave: "Finally, O Duce, you are with us. We will cover you with roses, but the smell of your virtue will overpower the smell of those roses."

From Wikipedia

Thursday, 20 October 2011

The BBC's black-out of Ron Paul's campaign: part 94

Listening to Radio 4 news this morning, I noted a story on the unfolding tragedy of Mexico's drug war. It ended with the hack journo mentioning that the Mexican President had even hinted at legalising drugs as a solution, but it was unlikely to be a topic of debate in the next Mexican presidential elections, let alone in the the US presidential elections.

Of course, it already has been raised. Ron Paul has long made his position clear that drugs should be legalised and has made the argument forcefully. But the BBC will never mention his name. They don't want to confuse the British public by discussing a Republican who stands for peace, free trade, liberty and an end to US imperialism.

Fortunately the BBC no longer has such a grip on information. Gatekeeper it remains, but the wall is breached.

Referendum vote betrayed before it even began

I see over at DK the wording of the vote at the Westminster branch of the Brussels Post-Democratic Society:
"This house calls upon the government to introduce a bill in the next session of parliament to provide for the holding of a national referendum on whether the united kingdom:
  1. should remain a member of the European Union on the current terms;

  2. leave the european union; or

  3. re-negotiate the terms of its membership in order to create a new relationship based on trade and co-operation.
They couldn't even table the vote without betraying it with the spoiler third option, to keep all the little 'Eurosceptics' within the fold.


As for the Tory MPs being whipped to vote in favour of 'ever closer union', I'm happy to lend a hand. I'll even bring the whip.

Be warned, Tory boys: if you don't vote B on Monday, you're names will be mud forever. Make your choice.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The latest from Max

"This week Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, talk about JP Morgan's bet against itself, a Florida legislator's plans to boost the economy with 'dwarf-tossing' and Tim Geithner flying economy. In the second half of the show, Max Keiser interviews Saifedean Ammous about Mubarak's odious debts and about whether or not Occupy Wall Street is an Arab Spring for the West."
Also very interesting is the discussion of corporatism, contrasted with capitalism with regard to Egypt and Tunisia.

Referendum vote moved to Monday

The vote on whether the British people get a referendum on continued EU servility has been moved to Monday, so that arch turn-coat traitor William Hague can be present.

I did suggest to some of my libertarian pals that a demonstration would be in order, even though it seems impossible that the criminals in Parliament will do the right thing. It's a shame I'm such a dinosaur - how does one organise a 'flash mob'?

An observation

It's a vile business, but one thing stands out in the current trial of Vincent Tabak; he seems to comprehend the enormity of his crime.

It makes a change from the usual dead-eyed, cold-blooded killers we've become accustomed to.

Mervyn King wrings his hands, but sadly not his own neck

I'm interested to know; historically speaking, has there ever been a central banker who ever, once took any kind of responsibility for the fucking disaster that they cause?

Mervyn Fucking King casting down his pearls of wisdom from the Olympian heights. Apparently the world economy's a bit screwed at the moment. but don't worry, because the greatest economic minds of the age are working on a solution down at the Bank.

At their last 'blue sky thinking' session, they came up with the genius solution of printing up £75 billion and giving it to their old school chums in the City. That should do the trick, unless of course you're one of the working class or middle class, in which case you've just been robbed.

This guy brings out the jacobin in me. Even though I'm bound to be in the second wave of executions in any French-style revolution, if the 'wise men' who serve the Whore of Threadneedle Street proceed me to the scaffold, that will give a measure of satisfaction.

Ca ira!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Why is Ofcom banning Press TV?

It's a ominous sign: state broadcasting regulator Ofcom has revoked Iranian Press TV's broadcast licence, meaning it will no longer be broadcast on the Sky platform. This is supposedly over a breach of the rules incurred by an interview of an American journalist being detained in Iran, but given the leaked position of the UK Foreign Office, that seems a pretext.

Somewhere buried in the Wikileaks bundle is found an interesting statement from a FCO wonk to a US counterpart. From the Guardian:
While Ofcom will insist that it came under no pressure from ministers, according to the WikiLeaks cables, the Foreign Office told an American diplomat in 2010 that the government was"exploring ways to limit the operations of … Press TV".

At the time, the department warned the US that: "UK law sets a very high standard for denying licences to broadcasters. Licences can only be denied in cases where national security is threatened, or if granting a licence would be contrary to Britain's obligations under international law. Currently neither of these standards can be met with respect to Press TV, but if further sanctions are imposed on Iran in the coming months a case may be able to be made on the second criterion."

This is coming at the same time as a number of other moves by the hawks to attack Iran, most notably the ludicrous conspiracy theory of Iran trying to hire a Mexican drug gang to blow up a Saudi diplomat. If plans to strike Iran are well-underway, you can imagine that the Foreign Office would not want us to see the other side of the story, so better, in true, sneaky 'Perfidious Albion' style, to quietly scuttle Press TV before the uranium-tipped missiles start slamming into orphanages.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Expensive? Yes. Unaffordable? That depends on the definition…

In the case of Shelter the definition with regard to house rents, is more than 35% the median local take-home pay, which may indeed signify many people are paying more than they would like, but it is not unaffordable. That word has a meaning in English. If you say something is unaffordable it means you cannot pay. If that were the case the homes would be vacant.

Charities in general seem to suffer from a poor understanding of economic matters and usually seem locked into an etatistic mindset, whereby the only solution that occurs to them is that the state will step in and spend money it doesn’t have. A proper comprehension of the economy leads to the recognition that the state is either causing or exacerbating the problem under consideration, either through action or through enforcing laws which mainly benefit vested interests.

In calling for rent caps, Shelter reveals that however much its heart is in the right place, its economic head is stuck up its proverbial. A market price is the key indicator to the market of how well supply is matching demand, and by demand we mean ‘effective demand’ i.e. demand that is matched by an ability to pay.

The housing market is, no doubt, dysfunctional, and the degree of its dysfunctionality will depend on what is hampering it from performing its job, i.e. matching supply to demand.

As ever, we run slap bang into the monetary elephant, i.e. the centrally-planned government monopoly, run for the benefit of the banking aristocracy. By using the cocaine of cheap credit, and thus keeping interest rates artificially low, the Keynesoids blew up a bubble. By keeping housing prices out of any consideration of price inflation (or ‘inflation’ as its called these days), this was represented as a benefit, as people saw the paper value of their one main asset increasing. With low interest rates and easy money, prices soared.

Added to this central problem are the other areas where the state has hampered the market: planning permission difficulties, the distortions of social housing, which operates in a fenced-off section of the market, the influence of housing benefits on rents, and, dare I say, the remnants of the Norman Yoke, whereby huge tracts of land are still in possession of the oligarchs and off-limits to the rest of us landless peasants.

Social housing and the socialist mindset

As Mises explained, the problem with socialism is that they have no means to make economic calculation, without a market to inform them. This becomes evident when they talk about need or demand, with scant consideration of how such limitless desires will be supplied, but always holding to the idea that, if only we could get those rich bastards, we'd all have a fair share. This same lack of economic sense makes them generally in favour of inflating the money supply. In both errors we see the malevolent influence of the Cambridge Apostle.

Now, when it comes to housing, I must confess certain urges within myself which are not strictly libertarian. I am something of a Prince Charles with regard to architecture, and I much prefer the sight of the rolling countryside over a modern housing development of the ‘little boxes’ variety. Nevertheless, a balance must be struck between preservation, conservation and progress. If more houses are needed, then they must be built, with all due regard to the contentious issues which invariably arise, but not by the state.

Cross-posted at Orphans

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

A snippet from History

England, November 1612; heir to the throne dies aged 18 of typhoid fever:

Prince Henry's death was widely regarded as a tragedy for the nation. According to Charles Carlton, "Few heirs to the English throne have been as widely and deeply mourned as Prince Henry." His body lay in state at St. James's Palace for four weeks. On 7 December, over a thousand people walked in the mile-long cortege to Westminster Abbey to hear the two-hour sermon delivered by the Archbishop of Canterbury. As Henry's body was lowered into the ground, his chief servants broke their staves of office at the grave. An insane man ran naked through the mourners, yelling that he was the boy's ghost.

Taken from Wikipedia

Pull the other one, Obama

Does anyone believe the ridiculous story the US regime is putting about, concerning Iran and an assassination plot?

I guess the hawks are getting desperate to attack Iran. The bit I like is the tie-in with one of the Mexican drug gangs which the DoJ has been caught shipping weapons to, some of which have been used to kill US cops and border guards (look up 'Operation Fast and Furious').

Leaving aside the 'pot calling the kettle black' aspect - Obama claims a right to assassinate American citizens in foreign countries - Iran has no reason to get involved in such a crack-pot conspiracy. That's not to say they're a great bunch of guys, but they're not crazy.

UPDATE: Read Justin Raimondo's take at

Monday, 10 October 2011

Testing something to destruction

You could take a car and see how long, if you ran it at 100 mph or 120 mph, before something went bang, i.e. the point at which the car ceases to function. This establishes a parameter. Until that point is reached, the car will function. It is the same with a general principle. For example; cannibalism, which is, generally speaking, wholly forbidden. But someone could say; ‘what about if you’re in a plane that crashes in the mountains and there’s no other food etc. etc. – a ‘lifeboat situation’, and we could dwell on this, thinking ‘what would we do?’. What happens to the general principle at the point of ‘breaks down’?

There are two choices; it no longer applies; or it still applies. If we affirm that the general principle holds no matter what, the problem will move to examining equity. The unsucessful defence can be reassessed in case it provides a plea for mitigation i.e. mercy. If it ceases to hold, by contrast, the possibility opens that a claim of defence by necessity or consent may be made. The following is considered on the basis that the former applies, i.e. it holds.

Is there an inalienable right to commit suicide?

No, because such a right, if it existed would have to derive from the right you have over your body. But the act of suicide would destroy the body. The right over the body would perish alongside. To use a derived right to destroy the principle is logically absurd. However, this is a philosophical point. It should not confuse us when considering suicide from a legal point of view.

Firstly if someone commits suicide they are beyond any legal sanction, having ceased to exist. If someone attempts suicide but fails, no one else can claim this as a violation of their property, as they have no property in the person of the would-be suicidee.

If, however, the suicide attempt involved driving a hired car off a cliff, the owners of the car, if not the cliff as well, will most likely have a valid claim of trespass against their own property.

What if Smith assists Jones to commit suicide? What general rules are applicable? Surely, that which prohibits the taking of a life. If any general rules are broken then a crime will have been committed. Let us quickly consider these two examples (A) Smith puts the pistol in Jones’ hand. Jones pulls the trigger; or (B) Smith pulls the trigger on Jones.

In the case of (B) the general rule is against shooting someone to death, unless it’s justified in self-defence. The crime is to take away a life. Smith would be destroying Jones’ inalienable property – a definite trespass.

But in the case of (A) Smith has not done this. I suggest an appeal to the rule of logic. Thus, if we accept the logical absurdity of a right to suicide, then Smith cannot be blamed if Jones acts in an absurd way by shooting himself, as Smith cannot be expected to know that Jones will not act logically.

From this view, assisted suicide must remain invalid as a defence against a charge of manslaughter in the case of (B), although not necessarily in the case of (A).

Suicide is an exceptional event. It is contrary to the general run of things. Notwithstanding its exceptionality, it cannot escape a breach of the general rules, so the only way it can be dealt with is through the principle of equity.

Such a principle is intended to take into account the personal tragedy often involved in such cases of assisted suicide. There is not, I believe, a widespread sentiment to bring the weight of the law down upon the grieving widower of a terminally-ill desirer of death, quite the contrary! The lobbying call is to ‘legalise’ this crime. However this goes too far, I believe. The onus to deliver justice and mercy which rests with the judge and jury cannot be shirked.

Morality abstracted

Led on from the solution to a deontological riddle, I came to this clip from the masterly 'Dr Strangelove'. An interesting, not to say the ultimate, 'life-boat dilemma'.

Hazlitt enters the fray

Considering the persistence of Keynesianism's influence, and the prohibition on ethical grounds of rounding up all Keynesians and shooting them, I am grappling with the man's (mis-)work via Hazlitt's demolition job ('The Failure of the "New Economics"'), so as to help free the minds of others by persuasion from Keynes's intoxicating intellectual poison.

After reviewing Keynes' flipflop on free trade (from ardent supporter to ardent opponent and possibly back again at the end) we come to his return to the primitive, and erroneous, values of mercantilism ...
But our chief purpose here is not to point to Keynes's many inconsistencies, but to examine which of his ideas were right and which were wrong. And clearly the position he took in the General Theory on free trade versus mercantilism was untenable. He begins by stating what seems to him "the element of scientific truth in mercantilist doctrine" (p. 335). He admits that "the advantages claimed [by the mercantilists] are avowedly national advantages and are unlikely to benefit the world as a whole" (p. 335). But he neglects to add that they are all beggar-my-neighbor policies, the total result of which, even on the mercantilists' own assumptions, could only injure the world as a whole if universally applied. And he refuses to recognize that the typical mercantilist policies —the chief of which is protection—hurt even (and most often, especially) the nation that tries them alone. For such a nation either forces its own consumers to pay more for the products they wish than they would otherwise have to pay, or deprives them of these products altogether. Protection creates home industries that are less efficient than the corresponding foreign industries, at the cost of injuring home industries that are more efficient than the corresponding foreign industries.

Keynes concedes this in a parenthetic and left-handed way: "The advantages of the international division of labor are real and substantial, even though the classical school greatly overstressed them" (p. 338). But he never tells the reader explicitly what these advantages are; for when they are spelled out it becomes evident that even some of the authors of "the classical school" never really stressed them enough.

Keynes states and endorses practically all the ancient and long-exploded fallacies of the mercantilists. We may safely leave the refutation of these to Adam Smith, Ricardo, Bastiat, and Mill; or even to Henry George, William Graham Sumner, Taussig, and a hundred others. It really is not a task that needs to be done over and over again in every generation or decade.

Or is it? What keeps the mercantilist fallacies alive, in spite of a thousand refutations, is (1) the special short-run interests of particular producers within each country, who would always stand to benefit if competition against them alone could be kept out; and (2) the persistent inability or refusal, even of many ''economists," to look for or understand the secondary and long-run effects of a proposed policy. The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.

Lex Trooperis

I've been arguing over law with the Liberal Conspirators, specifically human rights law versus my conception of natural rights and property rights, which has sent me scurrying around Rothbard's 'Ethics of Liberty', wherein I find this:
But there are certain vital things which, in natural fact and in the nature of man, are inalienable, i.e., they cannot in fact be alienated, even voluntarily. Specifically, a person cannot alienate his will, more particularly his control over his own mind and body. Each man has control over his own mind and body. Each man has control over his own will and person, and he is, if you wish, "stuck" with that inherent and inalienable ownership. Since his will and control over his own person are inalienable, then so also are his rights to control that person and will. That is the ground for the famous position of the Declaration of Independence that man's natural rights are inalienable; that is, they cannot be surrendered, even ifthe person wishes to do so.

Or, as Williamson Evers points out, the philosophical defenses of human rights
are founded upon the natural fact that each human is the proprietor of his own will. To take rights like those of property and contractual freedom that are based on a foundation of the absolute self-ownership of the will and then to use those derived rights to destroy their own foundation is philosophically invalid. (Evers; Law of Contracts p7)
Hence, the unenforceability, in libertarian theory, of voluntary slave contracts.
I also see this, in a chapter titled 'Lifeboat Situations':
It is often contended that the existence of extreme, or "lifeboat," situations disproves any theory of absolute property rights, or indeed of any absolute rights of self-ownership whatsoever. It is claimed that since any theory of individual rights seems to break down or works unsatisfactorily in such fortunately rare situations, therefore there can be no concept of inviolable rights at all. In a typical lifeboat situation, there are, let us say, eight places in a lifeboat putting out from a sinking ship, and there are more than eight people wishing to be saved. Who then is to decide who should be saved and who should die? And what then happens to the right of self-ownership, or, as some people phrase it, the "right to life"? (The "right to life" is fallacious phraseology, since it could imply that A's "right to life" can justly involve an infringement on the life and property of someone else, i.e., on B's "right to life" and its logical extensions. A "right to self-ownership" of both A and B avoids such confusions.)

In the first place, a lifeboat situation is hardly a valid test of a theory of rights, or of any moral theory whatsoever. Problems of a moral theory in such an extreme situation do not invalidate a theory for normal situations. In any sphere of moral theory, we are trying to frame an ethic for man, based on his nature and the nature of the world-and this precisely means for normal nature, for the way life usually is, and not for rare and abnormal situations. It is a wise maxim of the law, for precisely this reason, that "hard cases make bad law." We are trying to frame an ethic for the way men generally live in the world; we are not, after all, interested in framing an ethic that focuses on situations that are rare, extreme, and not generally encountered.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Murray on Maynard

Give him both barrels, Murray.

My advice to John Major: keep your mouth shut about the EU

According to the Mail:
The UK could use the eurozone crisis as an opportunity to grab back powers from Europe, Sir John Major has suggested.

The former prime minister said that any new treaty drawn up in its wake would allow Britain to renegotiate its relationship with Brussels - particularly on employment issues.

And he claimed it was likely that Europe was heading towards a 'federal state within the eurozone' as leaders try to find a resolution for the current crisis.
Is this the same John Major who brought us into ever-closer union via the Maastricht Treaty? So it is. You'd think he'd have the good sense to shut the fuck up about the EU, unless it was to offer the British people an abject apology for what his EU-fanatic administration did to us. Continuing, like he's just arrived from a parallel universe where he didn't do the exact opposite of what he is now reported as saying:

'I think it gives an opportunity for two things. Firstly it gives us an opportunity to negotiate for the looser form of Europe that I would have liked to have seen in the 1990s.

'I think there are some areas that are worth looking. Fishing is one. I think there are some elements of employment law.... things like the working time directive, which I think is a very foolish piece of legislation - we could look at repatriating part of it.'

A group was formed last month by new-intake Tories to put pressure on the leadership to weaken ties with Brussels.

Ah yes, the group of 'Euro-realist' Tories, formed with the intention of providing a decoy, while the leadership bundle what's left of our nation's sovereignty into tea crates for shipping over to Brussels.

There will be no renegotiation. There never can be a renegotiation. The only reason anyone (who understands EU politics) ever mentions renegotiation is to make the pro-sovereignty people sit remain calm until we are safely gobbled down and tucked away in the belly of the Brussels beast.

Free competition

According to the story, Jimi was none too happy about the toss of a coin, which decided he would be appearing before rather than after The Who at Monterey, and vowed to do his utmost to be unfollowable.

I'd say he succeeded.

Birthday boy

Shame you're not around to celebrate it, John.

Note to Peter Hitchens: Keynes was no economist

I was reading Peter Hitchen's scathing review of the conference season, nodding along, certainly agreeing with his views of the Bank of England's hyper-inflationary counterfeiting plot, but then something terrible happened. I read this:

"Let me remind you of what one of our greatest economists, Lord Keynes, once wrote ..."


No No No. Mr Hitchens, not only is John Maynard Fucking Beezebub Keynes NOT one of our greatest economists, he was not even an economist. He was an anti-economist, an enemy of reason, the man more than anyone else responsible for destroying the progress made over hundreds of years, dragging the science back to an age of magick. The world's most arrogant, delusional elitist. Everyone outside his little circle he looked down on as worms and cockroaches. And, Mr Hitchens he despised everything you hold dear. When he quotes Lenin on destroying a nation's currency, that's what he wanted! That phrase of Lenin's encapsulates the Keynesian agenda

His name should be used like Cromwell's in Ireland; to scare little children. His corpse should be dug up and scattered on the dung heap.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Deutschmarks and Drachmas? Do it!

Okay, I admit my blogging is a bit sparse at the moment, essentially a combination of Janis Joplin and Max Keiser, but it's all good stuff.

Here Max and Stacey are discussing the return of the Deutschmark and the Drachma. In my anecdotal experience, I never met a European who wanted the Euro. My Spanish friends still work out large amounts in Pesetas. Maybe that will prove a wise decision.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

My lost Pearl

As my faithful readers will have noticed, I have a tender spot in my heart for Janis Joplin, who died this day in 1970, which is reason enough to post one of my favourite songs by her; 'My Baby' from one of her appearances on the Dick Cavett Show.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Oh, let's have a mature debate

Just listening to some hooray henry tory turd on the radio saying 'let's have a mature debate' about Britain's imprisonment within the EU. What he meant was 'you can talk about it, if you wish, just as long as you accept that our membership cannot be questioned'. Oh, how generous! Really? You're sure? We wouldn't want cause any trouble, now. The very larst thing we'd want is to cause any friction in Cottager Heath's old party.

I wish I knew a Tory, just so I could goad them about their treasonous sell-out party, but they're so rare these days, I wouldn't know where to find one.

Cameron, you're entitled to your opinion and you're entitled to one vote

I don't personally care if Cameron wants this country to stay in the EU. It's not his decision, it is a decision for the people of this country. He will get one vote, no more than anyone else.

We will leave the EU. Only the practicalities remain to be decided. If one of those practicalities involves chucking Cameron into the polar bear enclosure of London Zoo, so be it.

This is an interesting line from the Mail story:
"Ministers appear increasingly concerned that Labour might shift its position and back the idea of an EU referendum. That would put the Tory leadership in a highly awkward position, since the Liberal Democrats promised an ‘in-out’ referendum at the last election."
Ho ho. That would put the cat amongst the pigeons, but I doubt that would happen, and even if it was promised, so what? All three establishment parties promised us a referendum last time, and it turned out that they're despicable lying scoundrels.

Whatever. We need to move on from these political turds. Don't give them the oxygen of legitimacy.

Re: the world economic crisis

I'm sure I'm not the only one looking at this world economic mess and feeling like I'm on the deck of the Titanic as the iceberg looms ahead.

The people are restless. They know something is seriously wrong. The oligarchy is nervous. They have it all planned out, but they cannot be sure that the people will take the bait. That bait is the socialist 'solution', the big government 'solution'.

We have two enemies. The banking oligarchy is one. The state is the other. And yet, the loudspeakers are proclaiming that capitalism is the enemy, that what's left of free trade and free enterprise - what's left of freedom itself - must be destroyed.

The greatest increase in wellbeing for the people came through liberalism. The key pillars of that were; peace, free trade and individual liberty. The free trade system could function because there was a single, stable, hard currency with which the world could do business, and that was gold. It's greatest asset was that it could not be manipulated by governments or bankers. It had in-built mechanisms to punish inflationist measures. Whatever flaws it had were as nothing to the unfolding tragedy of fiat paper money. The true economists spent the 20th century playing the part of Cassandra, as the world stumbled through the doomed-to-fail make-shifts of the Gold Exchange Standard and then the Bretton Woods agreement and arrived at the worst of all systems, an inflationist counterfeiting racket.

Now, in the Keynesian long-run, we face a decision: do we impoverish the working and the middle class and feed what's left of our accumulated wealth into the blackhole created by government and bankster fraud and felony? Do we sacrifice everything, so that the banks may survive? A QUOI BON?

Hey Greece, don't you wish you'd stuck with this stuff?

So far, the only country which seems to have done the right thing is Iceland, because the people said no to a criminal extortion, even when their politicians wanted to kowtow. The answer for Greece is to get out of the Euro and start printing the Drachma. The answer must include arresting the 'financial terrorists' as Max Keiser calls them. The answer is not following the pied pipers of socialism - that's what thwarted the rise of liberalism 100 years ago. Nor is it allowing those who have ripped us all off for so long now pose as our savours.

The answer is liberty.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Max's message to the bankers: Come out with your hands up!

Max and Stacey laying out the truth on our psychopathic bankers.

Warsi tells Tories to aim for outright majority - but why?

Baroness Warsi tells the dupes of her Party that the Tories should aim to win the next election outright. My question is: why?

Or to elaborate: what the fuck difference would it make, given that the Tory Party is run by a bunch of traitors who can't be told apart from the Lib Dems?

Oh sure, there's still a frisson of tribalism, but the coalition enables the high command to stick two fingers at their poor deluded followers who still, for some unknown reason, haven't worked out that the leadership doesn't give a fuck about the so-called conservative values which motivate the ordinary members.

The litmus test is, and will remain, the EU. Whatever the crooked leaders, such as Cameron and Hague, said in opposition, and whatever pathetic statement they make about 'repatriating powers' which everyone who knows anything knows will never happen, the Tory Party position is the same, absolutely and incontrovertibly the same, as the Lib Dems'.

The Tory Party is pro-treason. The fact that some of its members, and perhaps even some of its MPs are not, only indicates the inability of these well-meaning people to add two and two and get four. Wake up, you morons. If you want to save your country, the Tory Party must die. Pick up the knife and do it.

Tom and Janis

I was looking for this song, 'Little Girl Blue', which I've posted before, but I saw the above, which I haven't.

Memo to Nick Boles MP

As we head into the Blue Party's conference, the running dogs are all yapping in unison: "don't mention the EU". One such scrofulous curr is Nick Boles, who the BBC describes as "influential", although I've never heard of him before.
"Conservatives must focus on issues that are important to the public, not "petty obsessions" at their party conference"
Good, and the most important issue is getting us out of the EU.
"Any arguments over Europe must be practical in nature and not become ideological fights, Mr Boles stressed."
Fine. Leave the ideology alone. Get us out of the EU. Start working on the timetable. The ideology is settled. It falls under the headings; democracy, sovereignty, independence.
"I hope that the Conservatives will be focused on what matters to the British public - which is growth, jobs and the rising cost of fuel, not our little petty obsessions," he told the BBC.

"The most important thing is that we have to apply a test before we say anything - any of us, backbench MPs, ministers, whatever.

"The test is: 'Is this an issue for the people around Britain - people that voted for us and those that didn't - that they find crucially important in this very difficult time?'

Okay Nick, with regard to your test, at the last general election I did not vote for your party, because the candidate in my constituency did not support an in/out referendum, and I am certain that I was not alone in this decision. You may think we the people have goldfish memories - we don't. We remember the 'cast iron guarantee' and all the rest that lying potato head said when he thought it expedient. As for growth, jobs and the rising cost of fuel, all of these are issues intricately linked with Britain's membership of the EU, especially the cost of fuel.

I'm glad I'm not a Tory. What shame and embarrassment I would feel being a member of a party that is betraying this nation of ours and handing power over to a foreign institution, and when it has the opportunity to salvage the nation's sovereignty and democratic system, it does nothing.

As for the Tory 'Eurosceptics' - don't you realise; your place in hell will be that much hotter than your pro-treason colleagues BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHAT'S RIGHT AND YET DON'T DO IT.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Thoughts on housing

Additional to the issue of the EU mentioned below, another subject which came up on the BBC's Question Time was that of housing, mainly "social housing" and the difficulty first-time buyers are facing getting on the property ladder and the rest of us are facing paying the mortgage. The issue was raised due to Miliband's comments about allocating "social housing" on the basis of good works, rather than need.

It has long been acknowledged that one of the problems with welfare is that it creates perverse incentives to increase the very things it is intended to alleviate. If housing is allocated on the basis of need, then it becomes an advantage to be needy.

As a libertarian, my default position is to assume that the state makes problems worse. So, in the case of housing, my remedy would involve the state getting out of the housing business. This is not based on callousness, but rather a genuine belief that the free market is far more capable of handling the allocation of scarce resources than any system of bureaucratic management. Furthermore, I see the distinction between "social housing" and other forms of housing as essentially spurious. Everyone needs a home, after all. By rejecting the free market, we are confronted with the problem Ludwig von Mises identified with regard to socialism, namely the impossibility of economic calculation, once the market approach is abandoned. It is no longer a matter of what any particular person can afford, but rather an amorphous "need" that has no effective limit. The same thing applies even more so with regard to healthcare.

There are no easy solutions to such a major issue. As ever with economic matters, sooner or later we must consider the elephant of the monetary system, and all the harm and distortions that causes. When the subject of inflation is discussed, rather than the original definition of inflation as an expansion of the money supply, what is meant is the increase in prices. The official measure of this is based on an arbitrary selection of goods and services, which does not included the cost of housing. We have often been encouraged to view the steep rise in the price of housing as a good thing, at the same time as being taught that a similar rise in other prices is bad. The cost of housing has risen in part due to a shortage of supply and in part due to the artificially low interest rates, thanks to the central bank interfering with the market.

Another matter concerns land ownership. Although we often hear that Britain is overcrowded, in reality the population is crammed into a small amount of the land mass, with vast tracts remaining undeveloped. When we look at the ownership of the land, we might almost be reading from the Doomsday Book! It is, however, somewhat late to seek redress for the expropriation of land at the time of the Norman Conquest.

Then there's the issue of planning laws and nimbyism ... but that's enough thinking for now, my brain's beginning to ache.

Ron Paul 2012: Come on America!

Hat tip: Activist Post

State-registered journalism: what could be worse?

First we had Ivan Lewis MP calling for a state register of journalists, from which malefactors would be "struck off". Next we had Lewis claiming he had been misunderstood.

Now we have George Monbiot publishing his personal register of interests, in the hope that others will follow suit and the public will begin to demand such openness from others. That seems reasonable, no? But then the music starts:

"A voluntary register is a small step towards transparency. What I would really like to see is a mandatory list of journalists' financial interests, similar to the House of Commons registry. I believe that everyone who steps into public life should be obliged to show who is paying them, and how much. Publishing this register could be one of the duties of whatever replaces the discredited Press Complaints Commission."
Suddenly the red lights are flashing. George is calling for a state register of journalists, such as proposed (or not) by Lewis. I am sure, dear readers, you do not need me to spell out how dangerous such a thing would be, but, as I've got nothing better to do for the next five minutes...

The first question is this: What is a journalist? Or, more importantly, where does journalism end and PR or blogging or some other form of writing etc., begin? Certainly I don't consider myself a journalist, but I write for the public via this blog, and although I abjure advertising, if I didn't, I would be getting paid some meagre sum for my output. If Monbiot's plan were actioned, it would be necessary to define what is and what isn't journalism. This would have the pernicious effect of creating a cadre of 'proper' journalists, and de-legitimising everyone else. To be a journalist would thus become a privileged position. It would be like the Party membership card was in communist countries.

Also, let us consider this line: "everyone who steps into public life should be obliged to show who is paying them, and how much". This brings to mind the standard ad hominem tactic of Monbiot, his enviro-ilk and the puritanical zealots of the anti-smoking, anti-drinking, anti-fun brigade.

Whenever someone argues against the latest draconian infringement of individual liberty, they are accused by the puritans of being in the pay of 'Big Tobacco' etc. This is necessarily so within the puritans' narrative, where smokers etc., are mindless automatons, incapable of exercising any kind of control over their actions. If only, we are expected to believe, cigarette packets weren't so damned enticing, we'd never pick them up. This narrative thus requires the state to step into the picture and prohibit individual choice, there being no such thing as far as the puritans are concerned.

Requiring everyone to register and provide all the details of their financial situation can only act as a deterrent to engage in any kind of public debate. Furthermore, we have seen in recent times how the distinction between public and private has all but disappeared. So, the dragnet required for Monbiot's plan grows potentially ever greater. If I tell you I like Guinness, will I now have to publish all my bank details to prove Guinness haven't paid me to tell you this?

In summary, Monbiot's decision to publish his register of interests is fine for him to do, and enables him to rain fire from the moral highground against opponents who he can accuse of being in the pay of vested interests. However, as soon as he calls for others to be forced to follow suit, he loses the highground and becomes just another mouthpiece for state control of everything.

Finally, with regard to a definition of journalism, I recall that Hunter S. Thompson provided one that may serve:
“Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits -- a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.”
You okay with that, George?

Hat tip: Counting Cats

Concerning Thursday's Question Time

I'm not a big fan of the BBC's Question Time, as it tends to enrage me, but it does sometimes reveal some interesting currents amongst the people. One thing which was pretty stark in last Thursday's edition, from Liverpool, was the anti-EU sentiment, and it was coming from the left rather than the right.

Historically, the Labour Party was dead against the EU, summed up long ago by Herbert Morrison's famous comment on the European Coal and Steel Community: "The Durham miners will never wear it". It was only during Labour's long period in the wilderness from 1979 to 1997 that they came to align with the foreign power of the EU, seeing in Thatcher's description of "socialism by the backdoor" not a threat, but a hope.

I am thus cheered to note this development. The struggle for Britain to reclaim its sovereignty is not a matter which should concern only the rightwing of British politics, but all across the political spectrum. The more power is shifted from our elected representatives in Parliament to the unelected bureaucracy of Brussels, the less point there is to even discussing political matters here.

There has always remained a faction within the Labour Party who have been true to the principles of national democracy; Austin Mitchell and Tony Benn being two of the more prominent such people. The task of those of us who wish to free the nation from the clutches of the pro-EU establishment is to find a way of bringing together this disparate force, and putting aside our differences in other areas to work for that one great goal.