Wednesday 29 February 2012

In praise of Sir Walter Ralegh

Without any doubt in my mind, Sir Walter Ralegh was one of the greatest Englishmen who ever walked. I was recently furious to learn of the disgraceful conduct of his ludicrous trial for treason. Let it be remembered that the official version of events are often stinking lies. Sir Walter; working for the Spanish king? Even to write it, I feel like spitting, but I won't, as it's my carpet.

The reason for wishing to express my love and respect to Sir Walter is the pipe I have just enjoyed. My dear grandfather used to smoke a pipe, and his brand was Gold Block. Not too long ago, I inherited a couple of his pipes and, in the tobacconists of London town I sought out a pouch of his chosen poison. Now, there is much to learn, I am sure, of the art of pipe smoking, but when the planets align, and a glass of whiskey is to hand, it's a damned fine way to end the day, and for that I pay homage to my dear grandfather and to the great Sir Walter Ralegh, who brought back that naughty herb to this island.

P.S. Fellow blogger Mark Wadsworth has foolishly decided to dispute my spelling of Sir Walter's surname. As the signature below shows, 'Ralegh' is how he wrote it. So there!

Tuesday 28 February 2012

Pour encourager les autres

Searching for a picture to encapsulate my repugnance for our latter-day puritans, the anti-smoker, anti-drinker, anti-salt brigade (salt! you fucking nutters), I came to the image below, which if you click upon it, will take you to the place I found it; a charming site named 'Executed Today', from which I learn, that (not today, but) on 15th December, 1914 the French army decimated a Tunisian regiment of theirs for retreating. My reaction is the same as the writer on that site, one of surprise that such a practice managed to continue into the 20th Century.

Protect Children ...

...Disembowel a Puritan Fanatic Today

You know, I'm kind of getting sick of those puritanical temperance fanatics. I mean, my view of them doesn't change, the opinion dial is stuck with the arrow pointing to 'Spawn of Satan', but my level of visceral loathing does fluctuate. And courtesy of Dick Puddlecote, the crab in my spleen is nipping at my guts.

Those who don't wish to wander through yon link, the gist of the matter is a poster WE THE TAX-PAYERS no doubt paid for, calling for plain packaging for tobacco products, their newest ruse to piss off smokers and, in their fevered imaginations, bring us damned souls under the heel of they, the Elect.

Lord, I wish it was the 16th or 17th Century. Then they could all get on a boat and fuck off, and build their 'New Jerusalem' on some fly-blown mosquito coast and flagellate each other to their hearts' content and LEAVE THE REST OF US ALONE. Or else they could hole up in a town in Bohemia and the armies of the Counter Reformation could beseige them and, after much suffering, burst through the walls and put them all to the sword.

Now, all I need to do is cut and paste that into the government consultation document.

The Dynamo Doctor

Ron Paul fielding questions after a rally in Michigan.

Hat tip: The Daily Paul

Today's Conspiracy...

I don't know when this was written, but anyway, David Guyatt writing on Lockerbie and the Syrian Connection ... if you dare.

Cobdenic Wisdom

One of the works of Francis W. Hirst, who I mentioned just below, is a collection of speeches and documents laying out the history of the Manchester School of Cobden, Bright and the gang. Here's a great quote from Richard Cobden:
‘I yield to no man in the world (be he ever so stout an advocate of the Ten Hours’ Bill) in a hearty good-will towards the great body of the working classes; but my sympathy is not of that morbid kind which would lead me to despond over their future prospects. Nor do I partake of that spurious humanity which would indulge in an unreasoning kind of philanthropy at the expense of the great bulk of the community. Mine is that masculine species of charity which would lead me to inculcate in the minds of the labouring classes the love of independence, the privilege of self-respect, the disdain of being patronized or petted, the desire to accumulate, and the ambition to rise. I know it has been found easier to please the people by holding out flattering and delusive prospects of cheap benefits to be derived from Parliament rather than by urging them to a course of self-reliance; but while I will not be the sycophant of the great, I cannot become the parasite of the poor.’
From the introduction to 'Free Trade and Other Fundamental Doctrines of the Manchester School'; editor Francis W. Hirst (-for more on brother Francis, here's a short bio by Mark Brady at The Freeman).

Monday 27 February 2012

Francis Wrigley Hirst: another notable but neglected liberal

I have come across a 'new' writer. Francis W. Hirst, a trenchent Cobdenite liberal and one-time editor of the Economist, until forced to resign due to his opposition to the then current Great War.

It is a shame such a man's work languishes in obscurity, and it seems beholden on us modern, true liberals to raise him and his ilk out of the dusty shadows, and put him on the pedestal he merits.

Some of his works can be found at the Internet Archive. I have been perusing a collection of essays, one of which his, another by Hilaire Beloc, which at the turn of the 20th Century, sounded the trumpet for liberty and laissez-faire, against the old enemy, the protectionist tories and the new enemies, the liberals-in-name-only and their socialist chums.

To explain and justify the guiding principles of Liberal economics is becoming more and more necessary as each day carries us further away from the period of Com Law Repeal Free Trade was taught to the people in those days, firstly by argument, secondly, when argument had succeeded, by the comparison which experience afforded. Then for twenty or thirty years the arguments were forgotten, but belief in Free Trade was regarded as a condition of mental sanity. It was an axiom of English commerce and politics. The few Tory Protectionists who sat for agricultural constituencies were crotchety persons who gave considerable amusement but no uneasiness. Only within the last five years of trade depression has the real Protectionist agitation set in. However well advertised, a quack medicine will not sell in a healthy community. The inventor of a panacea will never make his fortune unless the variety of diseases which he engages to cure is indisputable. For certainty of the disease creates in the human mind a vague presupposition in favour of the promised remedy. The same consideration applied to Economics explains why the quack remedies of Bimetallism and Protection were able to make some head in the lean years of 1890- 1894.
However, alas, the protectionists are back, with happy visions of the past and future ...
"Merrie England " shows plainly enough that the modern monopoliser has the same idyllic cant in reserve ready to be produced for the benefit of the poverty-stricken State employee of the future. The present tactics of these amiable friends of the working man are to disguise from him the steady improvement which his condition is undergoing, and the solid comforts which year by year are being added to his lot. They attempt to distract his reason and excite his imagination by vulgar and overdrawn pictures of the squalor and wretchedness in the worst quarters of our great cities. Here we detect a temper worthy of the revolutionist who wants to upset society to its own certain misery, and then strut over the ruins he has himself created. On the other side stands the true social reformer, who nowadays frankly recognises the splendid progress of the last half century. Like the revolutionist, he refuses to acquiesce in inaction. Unlike him, he acknowledges with gratitude what he has learnt from his predecessors, and regards their conspicuous success as an earnest of that which will attend future efforts, if only they proceed from the same great principles towards the same desired goal.
It is sometimes asserted that there are quite new conditions to face. Society is so totally different to what it was in the days of Cobden and Bright. Humanity itselt has undergone some violent change. Burns was wrong : a man is not a man " for a' that" We are wonderfully in advance of our fathers. The up-to-date ephebe is a Socialist, an Evolutionist ; he can talk about the organic Unity of the State, and he professes an imperial instinct. Let us admit it at once: there has been a change — in terminology. The young man is deceived by the long Latin and Greek words, and so equipped thinks he means something different from what his father thought under more homely terms.
The organic unity of the State is one of those pretentious metaphors transferred from biology to politics, which suggest one kind of unity by another and totally different kind. The good of the community, the danger of sacrificing the whole to the part, and the greatest happiness of the greatest number, were conceptions perfectly understood by'the Corn Law Repealers and by those who abolished the Test Acts. Similarly, evolution is a long and somewhat stupid substitute for progress. Improvement in the common run of mankind depends upon the occasional "eccentricity " of individuals. Where free play is possible an individual will here and there strike out new adaptations to meet new wants. It was not the State or Society that made the steam engine but Stephenson and Watt, though without the State or Society the steam engine would have been an invention in vacuo. But the organised monotony and mechanical unity of a Socialistic State is the negation of free play, and consequently its appropriate motto should be not evolution and progress, but degradation and decay.

Saturday 25 February 2012

The Fear Factor

Here's something that I've seen before, but it does illustrate the neo-con mindset very well at the time of the GOP Convention in 2004, and I dare say it's not changed too much.

If someone did the same with my man Ron Paul, what would we have?

"Liberty. Freedom. Peace. The Constitution. Cut Taxes. End the Fed. End the wars."

You could hardly find a greater contrast.

Hat tip: Infowars

Friday 24 February 2012

Benjamin Constant on Liberty; Ancient and Modern

I have come across an enlightening essay by Benjamin Constant, wherein he contrasts the concept of Liberty, as defined by the ancients, with that which is understood in the modern era. It is a useful analysis, as it sheds light on the causes of various follies which have held sway in the last two hundred years or so, and also confuse the best of us, in trying to assimilate the lessons of history, going back to Rome and Greece. It is worth reading the whole thing, which can be done at the Online Library of Liberty, but here's a snippet:

It follows from what I have just indicated that we can no longer enjoy the liberty of the ancients, which consisted in an active and constant participation in collective power. Our freedom must consist of peaceful enjoyment and private independence. The share which in antiquity everyone held in national sovereignty was by no means an abstract presumption as it is in our own day. The will of each individual had real influence: the exercise of this will was a vivid and repeated pleasure. Consequently the ancients were ready to make many a sacrifice to preserve their political rights and their share in the administration of the state. Everybody, feeling with pride all that his suffrage was worth, found in this awareness of his personal importance a great compensation.

This compensation no longer exists for us today. Lost in the multitude, the individual can almost never perceive the influence he exercises. Never does his will impress itself upon the whole; nothing confirms in his eyes his own cooperation. The exercise of political rights, therefore, offers us but a part of the pleasures that the ancients found in it, while at the same time the progress of civilization, the commercial tendency of the age, the communication amongst peoples, have infinitely multiplied and varied the means of personal happiness.

It follows that we must be far more attached than the ancients to our individual independence. For the ancients when they sacrificed that independence to their political rights, sacrificed less to obtain more; while in making the same sacrifice! we would give more to obtain less. The aim of the ancients was the sharing of social power among the citizens of the same fatherland: this is what they called liberty. The aim of the moderns is the enjoyment of security in private pleasures; and they call liberty the guarantees accorded by institutions to these pleasures .

Catching up with everybody's favourite Praxgirl

Put down those dusty Austrian tomes, sit back and let the dulcet tones of the angelic and super-brainy Praxgirl lead you to enlightenment. Here is Episode 17: Catallactics. Check out all the rest here.

Monday 20 February 2012

Black Prince Must Be Condemned for Limoges Massacre

Much as the hand-over of Limoges to the French King represented a betrayal of the basest kind on the part of the Bishop, it cannot justify the vile slaughter of the guiltless inhabitants, many of whom, women and children begging for mercy from the Prince of Wales men. To no avail, there being no mercy only murderous wrath in the heart of the Prince.

The Prince should reflect that all are accountable to a Just God, and whatever absolution for his sins he may be persuaded to buy may not be so skillfully worded as not to miss the occasional mortal felony, if they be so many and widely scattered.

From Froissart's Chronicles, the Sack of Limoges, 1370

The prince of Wales remained about a month, and not more, before the city of Limoges: he would not allow of any assaults or skirmishing, but kept his miners steadily at work. The knights in the town perceived what they were about, and made countermines to destroy them; but they failed in their attempt. When the miners of the prince (who, as they found themselves countermined, kept changing the line of direction of their own mine) had finished their business, they came to the prince, and said: “My lord, we are ready, and will throw down, whenever you please, a very large part of the wall into the ditch, through the breach of which you many enter the town at your ease and without danger.” This news was very agreeable to the prince, who replied, “I wish then that you would prove your words to-morrow morning at six o’clock.” The miners set fire to the combustibles in the mine; and on the morrow morning, as they had foretold the prince, they flung down a great piece of wall, which filled the ditches. The English saw this with pleasure, for they were all armed and prepared to enter the town. Those on foot did so, and ran to the gate, which they destroyed as well as the barriers, for there were no other defences; and all this was done so suddenly that the inhabitants had not time to prevent it.

The prince, the duke of Lancaster, the earls of Cambridge and of Pembroke, sir Guiscard d’Angle and the others, with their men, rushed into the town. You would then have seen pillagers, active to do mischief, running through the town, slaying men, women, and children, according to their orders. It was a most melancholy business; for all ranks, ages and sexes cast themselves on their knees before the prince, begging for mercy; but he was so inflamed 454 with passion and revenge that he listened to none, but all were put to the sword, wherever they could be found, even those who were not guilty: for I know not why the poor were not spared, who could not have had any part in this treason; but they suffered for it, and indeed more than those who had been the leaders of the treachery. There was not that day in the city of Limoges any heart so hardened, or that had any sense of religion, who did not deeply bewail the unfortunate events passing before their eyes; for upwards of three thousand men, women and children were put to death that day. God have mercy on their souls! for they were veritable martyrs.

A company of English, in entering the town, hastened to the palace of the bishop, whom they there found and took prisoner, carrying him, without any regard to his dignity, to the Prince of Wales, who, eyeing him indignantly, told him that his head should be cut off and ordered him out of his presence.

We will now speak of those knights who were in the town, sir John de Villemur, sir Hugh de la Roche, and Roger de Beaufort, son to the count de Beaufort, governors of the city. When they perceived the tribulation which was overpowering them, they said: “We shall all be slain for a certainty, if we do not gallantly defend ourselves: let us therefore sell out lives as dearly as good knights ought to do.” Upon this, sir John de Villemur said to Roger de Beaufort, “You must be knighted.” Roger replied, “Sir, I have not as yet signalised myself sufficiently for that honour, but I thank you much for you good opinion in suggesting it to me.” No more was said, for they had not time to hold further conversation. They collected in a body, and, placing themselves before an old wall, sir John de Villemur and sir Hugh de la Roche displayed their banners, and drew up in good order. They might be, in the whole, about fourscore. The duke of Lancaster and the earl of Cambridge, with their men, advanced upon them, and dismounted, to be on an equality with the enemy. They attacked them with hearty good will. You may easily imagine that this handful of men could not resist the English, but were all slain or made prisoners.

The duke of Lancaster was engaged for a long time with sir John de Villemur, who was a hardy knight, strong and well made. The earl of Cambridge singled out sir Hugh de la Roche, and the earl of Pembroke Roger de Beaufort, who was but a simple esquire. These three Frenchmen did many valorous deeds of arms, as all allowed, but ill did it betide those who approached too near. The prince, coming that way in his carriage, looked on the combat with great pleasure, and enjoyed it so much that his heart was softened and his anger appeased. After the combat had lasted a considerable time, the Frenchmen, with one accord, viewing their swords, said, “My lords, we are yours: you have vanquished us: therefore act according to the law of arms.” "By God,” replied the duke of Lancaster, “sir John, we do not intend otherwise, and we accept you for our prisoners.” Thus, as I have been informed, were these three knights taken. But the business was not here ended, for the whole town was pillaged, burnt, and totally destroyed. The English then departed, carrying with them their booty and prisoners. They marched to Cognac, where the princess had remained, and there the prince disbanded his forces, not intending to do anything more that season; for he did not feel himself at his ease, as every exertion aggravated his disorder, which was increasing, to the great dismay of his brothers and all those about him.

I must inform you how the bishop of Limoges escaped with imprisonment, who had been in imminent danger of his life. The duke of Lancaster asked him of the prince, who consented, and ordered him to be given up to the duke, for him to do with him according as he willed. The bishop having good friends, they sent information of his situation to the pope, who had lately arrived at Avignon; and fortunate was it for the bishop they did so, otherwise he would have been a dead man. The pope wrote such pressing and kind letters to the duke of Lancaster, to request he would give him the bishop, that he was unwilling to refuse, and sent him to the pope, who felt himself exceedingly obliged for it.

Made me laugh

I'm not sure why Simon Gibbs at Libertarian Home flagged up this rum bunch, or what it is bar that which can be guessed, a new political party bursting forth upon the scene - The Constitution Party (yeah, that name thing; it is available). So, to work, the first resolution:
1st policy - We need a WRITTEN constitution & bill of rights to protect us from political criminality & abuse of power as if rife in the uk political spectrum.
Provoked this genius response from brother Kevin J Fowler:
no what we need is to remove the human condition entirely, we are too selfish, greedy, too destructive... what we need is an A.I super computer to run everthing for us *watches terminator* .. ok scrap that

Sunday 19 February 2012

Why I'm not a tory; part 94

I read over at the Independent that a leak from the Department for Education has revealed that Michael Gove is planning to ban parents from taking their kids out of school during term time for a holiday.

This is described in the piece as being a discretionary matter until now, and we get comments from various educational gauleiters as to how terrible it is that a child may 'miss out' on any of the thin gruel of learning they are rationed out at the state-run schools.

As the Department has not yet confirmed whether the leak is correct, I suppose I'd better reserve judgement, but presuming it is accurate, I'd say it represents the same old shit we get from the tories in power, which bears a remarkably similar scent and texture to that supplied by the last bunch, their ideological opposites we are led to believe.

The dispute between labour and tory is merely over who is the most efficient in managing the gargantuan state they have erected together over society. So what we get is a choice between two nuanced 'visions of the annointed', imposed upon us and financed through high taxes and unfunded deficits.

Saturday 18 February 2012

What is politics?

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy."

Sir Ernest Benn*

* I've not known too much about Sir Ernest Benn until very recently, although I think the name has passed under my nose before, but he was a great campaigner for liberalism and laissez-faire in the first half of the 20th century, and wrote a large number of books and pamphlets, some of which can be found at the Mises Institute website.

If you're interested, he was Tony's uncle.

Schiff fighting the good fight

In my quest for knowledge, I do not shy away from things that may damage my settled views. Hence, when a YouTube clip is titled 'Peter Schiff Destroyed by Lawrence O'Donnell', from August 2009, I have no option but to see for myself.

Peter is obviously a hate figure to the Keynesians, and there are many other anti-Schiff clips, and all fail to deliver on their vainglorious claims of victory. In this present example, what we see is an interviewer hectoring him, attempting to stop him answer the questions he keeps pouring forth, and Peter, like a deft pugilist, dodging and weaving the ham-fisted O'Donnell, while landing punch after punch with surgical precision.

Sunday 12 February 2012

Extremist? Moi?

Meanwhile, as Nato busily arms Al Qaeda in Syria, the FBI are on the trail of the 'real' extremists - people who 'think' (sic) that the USA went bankrupt when it went off the Gold Standard.

Well, that statement is pretty much apodictically true. The USA had debts equal to a set amount of gold. Under Nixon, it repudiated the link between the dollar and gold, because it could no longer continue the charade that it could cover its debts in gold. If you can't pay your debts, you are bankrupt. QED.

Anyway, here's Max talking about that and other matters, such as MF Global and the curious case of the 'vaporized' billions.

The 'Good' Al Qaida

Yet again, we are confronted by the strange singularity of purpose existing between the hawks of Nato and their supposed arch-enemies Al Qaida. A statement from Ayman Al Zawahiri, the purported leader of the shadowy terror network, urges on the resistance to the Syrian government, as reported in the Guardian. This follows the well-known AQ involvement alongside Nato in toppling the Libyan government.

Given the monetary and ideological base for AQ has always been the West's favourite ally Saudi Arabia, and given the murky history of 'Great Game' subterfuge, this is not really surprising, at least to someone unafraid to be branded a conspiracy theorist. But for the simple-minded, who allow themselves to be led by the nose by the establishment media to see only one side of these complex issues, that being the side aggressively pushed by Nato and its propaganda outlets, such as the BBC, does it not make you pause for thought?

Saturday 11 February 2012

The Gainsbourg I never knew

It's not particularly surprising that this passed me by, but about a year ago a previously unheard track by the late, great Serge Gainsbourg was released, that being 'Comme Un Boomerang', which he wrote for another singer, Dani, for the Eurovision Song Contest, but it got bumped for being too dark, as far as I can understand.

Take it easy on yourself

The wonderful, angelic Sinead

Last Day Of Our Acquaintance

Balance, BBC-style

It's with good reason the BBC is referred to round here by the name George Orwell coined for it - the Ministry of Truth. Yesterday's 10 p.m. Radio 4 news provided an archetypal example of what they mean by balance, when it comes to the EU.

The subject was about the 'democratic deficit' and whether this was peradventure growing, given the imposition of technocratic executives in various countries and the widespread opposition amongst the pitchfork-wielding peasantry.

If you were going to approach such an issue with balance, you'd want to get at least two different viewpoints from opposite sides of the debate. But if you are the Ministry of Truth, what you will do is get two slightly nuanced viewpoints from the same miniscule fraction of of the debate, that being the fraction believed in and supported by the political rump.

Thus we had some prick from the European Council on Foreign Relations and one of the grandees from the Low Countries, whose name I refuse to recall for the moment (the ex-Luxembourg PM or something, what's the fucking difference?).

This so-called 'democratic deficit' is acknowledged, but only as a technical difficulty. Sure, the hoi polloi are against the destruction of sovereignty and the hand-over of power to a junta of failed politicians, ex-maoists and child-molesters (AKA the Kommission), however the 'solution' is to find a way to mollify this opposition, rather than to take any heed of it. The notion that such opposition should in fact preclude any further consolidation of power in Brussels is alien to their thinking.

Pausing for a moment, I note that we, the people who want independence, have not got our act together. I see on some of the UKIP blogs, a broad degree of dissatisfaction with what their party is, or rather is not, doing. We really do need to have a coherent message and a vehicle for that message.

Friday 10 February 2012

Waiting out the storm

I'm a bit under the weather, so I have gone to ground with a bottle of whiskey, some smoke and Brahms' Violin Concerto. Here's Henryk Szeryng fiddling for all he's worth through the third movement.

Picking a wound

As regulars will know, I'm not a particularly bellicose type of person, given to waving the flag, but I am getting increasingly pissed off with the Argentinian government bitching and whining about OUR Falkland Islands.

If you take the trouble to read up on the basis of their claim of ownership, to call it laughably piss-poor would be generous. On top of this, their refusal to discuss the matter for more than two minutes before flouncing out of the room throughout the three decades prior to their invasion, made any kind of compromise near impossible, and since the war it is now completely impossible to contemplate handing the islands over. The one thing they will never do is consider the rights of the Falkland Islanders.

So, much as I wholly disapprove of the British military interfering in places like Libya and Syria, if the Argentines have another crack at the Falklands, I'll bloody enlist!

Cameron: feminist patrician

There's something ridiculous in Cameron's hectoring of the business world for not having enough women in the boardroom, and his limp-wristed threat that if they don't do what he demands 'of their own free will', he'll force it on them by legislation.

From the Ministry of Truth article:
He said he would like to boost numbers "preferably without having quotas" but said he would not rule them out "if we cannot get there by other means".

He told the meeting of eight other European leaders that the "case is overwhelming that companies and countries run better if you have men and women working together at the top".
Well, if it's that overwhelming, surely it will take care of itself? Those businesses which are smart enough to avail themselves of top-level female talent will prove the case, leaving the chauvinists choking in their dust?

Dave shows his contempt for liberty. He thinks it is the job of the government dictate to private enterprise, under the hubristic notion that private enterprise needs this guiding hand. Or else he's just a posh twat on a power wank.

Babies, incubators and war propaganda

There's something strangely familiar about this piece of news carried by The Independent:
As many as 18 premature babies, all of whom were being kept alive on generators, were reportedly killed after power was cut to Homs’ Al-Walid hospital. “The families were there when it happened,” said Mahmoud Araby, a 25-year-old student who was among dozens of families sheltering inside a wedding hall when they heard the news. “We were so angry and disgusted.” State TV denied the incident, claiming all hospitals in the area were functioning as normal.
Of course, I'm thinking of the Big Lie used to gee up the American public for the first Gulf War, that Iraqi troops were throwing babies out of incubators in Kuwaiti hospitals. It never happened, but it worked a treat. With that idea fixed in everyone's mind, the Iraqi conscript was effectively dehumanised, and could then be killed without a pangs of conscience.

Whatever is happening in Syria right now, we the public have no real idea. We certainly cannot trust the establishment media to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It would be more sensible to start with a default position of deep scepticism. There is no doubt that powerful interests want Assad toppled, and other powerful interests want to keep him in power. The former have an MO which includes funding terrorists and using establishment media to diseminate black propaganda. Both sides are prepared to stoop to brutality. Let us not allow this country to be dragged into yet another foreign adventure, nor should we close our eyes to this elements sheltered under the wings of our own state who have a long track record in the dark arts of espionage and terrorism.

Wednesday 8 February 2012

Nice one, Harry

I must say I'm pleased to see Harry Redknapp acquitted in the vindictive and pointless tax evasion trial. Considering how much tax he's paid over the years and the cost of this ridiculous investigation (£8 million, according to the Mail), you've got to wonder what these sneaky, ferreting inspectors thought they were playing at, and I like the classic football quote:

"The jury were absolutely unanimous".


Now, check out this quote from the same article:
Chris Martin, from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), said outside Southwark Crown Court that the taxman had 'no regrets' about pursuing the case.

He said: 'We accept the verdicts of the jury but I would like to remind those who are evading tax by using offshore tax havens that it always makes sense to come to talk to us before we come to talk to you.'
How creepy is that?

Sunday 5 February 2012

Winter Winge

A light dusting of snow in London and immediately the roads become treacherous, because, as ever, the notion that there are seasons and that one particular season, winter, is colder than the others, has not permeated through the the layer of pork fat insulating the brains of the people supposed to be managing the roads, and weather-forecasters are still considered witches to be burnt rather than heeded.

All it would take is a bit of grit-spreading, but such practicalities don't make it into the priorities, which, as far as London is concerned, are based on turning the roads into obstacle courses for cars, one thing when the road conditions are normal, but when they're transformed into a sheet of ice, another thing again.

Such things as winter road-management presumably don't get much of a look-in on those fact-finding trips to the Caribbean local councillors seem to consider part of their job, and what with the global warming doomsayers having been given free reign for so many years, perhaps they've been building up the stores of suntan lotion rather than salt.

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Family Affair

A new tune from my internet buddy Ben Sommer - Sister

Download the song:

Get an entire album of Sommer's music free: