Friday 30 April 2010

Netmums, Food Denormalisation, And The 'N' Word

I wonder if Simon Hoggart has begun to understand what denormalisation means yet?

If not, he's not keeping his arrogant ear to the ground. Because it's all around us. Every day.

A vending machine which dispenses hot chips is being removed from a Hull sports centre amid concerns about its implications for people's health.

Cathy Cort, from the parenting group Netmums, said the concept was "revolting" and called for healthier food in leisure centres.
Revolting? Chips? I've always been rather fond of them myself.

And considering one of the great British dishes, fish and chips, has just celebrated its 150th anniversary I'm not only not alone, but haven't been for a century and a half.

Yes, I'm merely straw manning, of course she wasn't saying that chips themselves are revolting, merely the 'concept' of selling them somewhere other than a fish shop. Not a lot to ask, is it?

Well actually, if you think about it, it is.

She said: "We need as a nation to eat healthier than we do but we do not want to ban everything because that will not solve the issue. What we need is a choice. Parents don't want to be food fascists."
Firstly, Cathy, we need as a nation to eat what we choose to eat, not what is dictated to us by others. We do, we are always told, live in a free country. D'you see?

Secondly, it wasn't 'food libertarians' who made the leisure centre remove 'choice' from those who wished to purchase chips. In this instance, the issue was 'solved' by those who want to ban the choices of others.

"They still want to treat their children after they've been exercising but with a smaller chocolate bar or healthier baked crisps rather than the king-size options that are in the vending machines."
I beg to differ. If parents wanted exactly what you say they want, such machines wouldn't last long before being taken away without the need for a single complaint. They would be uneconomical to keep.

Just the fact that you are making such generalisations to sway others into removing options with which many would be quite happy, proves that you are, I dunno, a food fascist, maybe?

And it looks like you have your wish.

Alison Walker, Hull City Council's assistant head of arts and leisure, said [...] "The machine at Albert Avenue is being removed in the next few days and we will not be trialling it at other locations. We are currently reviewing what we sell at all of our leisure sites to look at how we can strike the right balance between healthy options and customer demand."
What balance? If customer demand is for 'healthy options', then that is what would be stocked, but that's evidently not the case.

A Netmums survey showed that 40% of leisure centre vending machines only offered "unhealthy snacks".
Perhaps that could be because they are popular; that parents are happy to treat their kids with them; and that they are making their choice in a free society. No?

Which kinda goes against everything that Cathy was saying earlier about what parents want.

I think Cathy was getting confused between choice and what interfering prodnoses would like to inflict on the choices of others.

Chips are OK, but not in the setting of anywhere but a chip shop (they're automatically evil in Maccy D's). Such a choice must be deemed abnormal and be frowned upon, even when the quite obvious result will be that those who want chips will just pop past the nearest chippy on the way home instead.

No. The Netmums message doesn't seem to be anything about health, really, because if the products on offer aren't satisfactory they can simply go elsewhere or bring their own. Instead, I reckon it's a pester power thing. Netmums don't want to have to say no to their kids.

Such a small word, but one which so many parents feel quite incapable of uttering. So therefore everyone must have their choices reduced to avoid ever upsetting their little darlings with the 'n' word.

Of course, politicians will fall for it, they always do, and legislation will surely follow soon. It's like throwing feathers against a brick wall with these dickheads.

Thursday 29 April 2010

The Final Leaders' Debate Live Chat

Do Not Adjust Your Set

I think this guy has nailed it.

'In this day and age, I can't see how a council can spend money on a smoking control department and compliance officers. It looks like a pointless job creation exercise.'
Well, exactly.

One must wonder at the perverse mentality which perpetuates this waste of resources. We all know that the true agenda is to bully the public into giving up a legal and, for very many, an enjoyable product.

It ain't working, of course. Coercion has never, ever, been embraced in the entire history of human experience, and bullying is viewed with even less admiration. Since smoking bans have been implemented, throughout the world, the uniform result is a grinding halt to the previously regular reductions in smoker prevalence.

Dictatorial solutions, quite simply, turn people off and the message transforms from being caring into one which places the receiver as somehow inferior to the person issuing the orders.

Don't believe me? OK, just as an experiment, pick out someone in your local high street this weekend who is doing something which you wouldn't do yourself. Then approach them and tell them you are hugely more clever than them and that they should stop it right now.

Then, when you have extricated their fist from your face and booked an appointment with the dentist, tell me how effective it was.

We don't have to look far for more confirmation that anti-smoking nutjobs are addicted to this quite laughable failure of approach. On the same day that the Mail was reporting on Mr Isbister's laudable defence of common sense over public sector arrogance and waste, the Times carried yet more evidence that progress stalls the more bullying is used as a tool.

The number of cigarettes sold in the UK in the year to the end of March was 44.2 million, the first time the figure has not fallen year-on-year in a generation.
Which kind of suggests that the legions of state-paid tobacco controllers are an indefensible waste of public expenditure.

Especially if they are being paid for a job which they are quite incapable of performing to any degree of competence.

Yesterday, magistrates threw out the case because the council had failed to follow correct procedure. Despite spending thousands, it seems the council and its lawyers were unable to ensure they had correctly applied the law.
Treble P45s all round should be the order of the day. Unfortunately, the big three are quite happy to continue funding such nonsense, while they scrabble around talking of public sector cuts which are sorely required, but which they will never deliver unless they stop being such righteous morons.

Meanwhile, incompetent Nottingham council officers are free to continue being inconsequential, and financially damaging, burdens on society without sanction.

Yes, you haven't slipped into the Twilight Zone, this really is 21st Century Britain.

Live Blog Tonight

As with the previous two, the third leaders' debate will be covered here with a multi-blog live chat. This week's question-dodging is being broadcast on BBC TV and Sky News between 8.30pm and 10.00pm.

The 3rd and, thankfully, final debate is supposed to be on the economy but yesterday's fun and games are sure to feature in some capacity, so at least hopefully we will get to see Gordon squirm.

This week's 10 blog 'chat' collaboration will be between All Seeing Eye, Barking Spider, Biased-BBC, Corrugated Soundbite, Dick Puddlecote, Governmentitus, GrumpyOldTwat, Man Widdecombe, Subrosa and The Red Rag, - all excellent and highly recommended blogs. If you haven't been to some of them before then please take this chance to try them out.

To catch the live blogging, come back here tonight just before 8.30pm

Wednesday 28 April 2010

Move Over, Kinnock. There's A New King Of Shame In Town

Neil Kinnock's life became a little easier today.

As the election descended into quite hilarious farce, a new icon of political suicide has presented itself. As images go, this is stark.

Forget Kinnock's fall on a Brighton beach, consign to history his cringeworthy Sheffield jig, there's a new poster boy for Labour ineptitude.

Just look at that image. You're going to see it over and over again in the next couple of decades. A man completely humiliated by a 66 year old pensioner who was just out to get some bread.

Well, actually, it wasn't her fault, it was obviously his. Not that you'd get that impression from the way Brown feebly fumbled around trying to place the blame elsewhere. But the evident resignation in the pose is almost pitiful, almost pathetic - in the very true sense of the word.

But 'almost' is the operative word.

As events unfolded; as it was trailed by every media outlet, including the BBC, the election took on a new turn. A previously turgid process became superb fun!

E-mails and texts were flying in to congratulate radio 5 on 'one of the most entertaining afternoons ever'. As Brown was tearing up his meticulously planned schedule to drag himself, and his intra-legs-located tail, back to Rochdale to deliver an abject apology, the country just shook its collective head and muttered "good grief" along with a satisfying "pffft".

There was little pity for someone who, for three years, has led a government which has intimidated, marginalised, denormalised, lectured, disenfranchised, and dictated to the public at every turn.

It was the moment when the playground bully was dragged by his ear to the head's office as grateful kids jeered at his dramatic descent from arrogance to public humiliation. It was the little guy kicking the neighbourhood thug in the family jewels. Much like the expenses anger, which wasn't anything to do with the paltry sums involved, it was a catharsis for every persecuted grouping that Brown's party have targeted.

And it happened in a way that couldn't possibly have been more apposite. Someone held an opposing view to Gordon's, so he instinctively spewed out the racism insult.

It's hard-wired in lefties and their preferred quangoes. If challenged, don't bother with trying to engage in a constructive manner, just throw accusations and smears.

If you worry about immigration, you're a racist. If you object to government spending, you want the poor to rot in the streets. If you are sceptical about climate change hyperbole, you are happy to see third world countries drown and/or are paid by oil companies. If you disagree with bans on smoking or fox hunting, you're quite happy to see kids die or you're a bloodthirsty butcher. If you believe ID cards are an outrage to civil liberties, you have something to hide. Et cetera to fade.

When a party has made so many enemies from differing spheres, there's little natural pity left when confronted by such a pathetic image. It's just natural justice.

Kinnock, you can breathe easy again. We haven't forgotten how funny your public gaffes were, it's just that this time it's more personal ... and oh so much sweeter.

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Someone Give That Woman A Slap

Much as it pains me that a mathematical error should have remained in prime blog location since Sunday, that thing called 'real life' has been getting in the way of clandestine Puddlecote activities.

A substantial annual voluntary contribution of my time (yes, libertarians do that, too) has hampered writing efforts, as has attendance at a kids' party which would have vigorously tested anyone's skill at repressing their primitive homicidal urges.

Talking of which ...

Europe steps up pressure for smacking ban on human rights grounds

Speaking ahead of a meeting in Strasbourg, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, deputy secretary general of the Council of Europe, which monitors compliance with the European convention on Human rights, said [...] “The UK is one of the countries that has not yet implemented a full ban,” she said.

“In part, this is because the traditional parent-child relationship in the UK is one of authority [and] state intervention into family affairs is still not welcome.”
You see, the EU don't want parents in the UK to be in authority in the home.

Kids should be able to run wild, run free, and be without a care in the world. It is their human right to run out into roads as cars are using them *; to climb walls at 4 years old in order to look down from the 8th floor of a multi-storey car park **; to throw tantrums in Currys when denied an X-Box while parents meekly and pathetically plead with their infant masters to stop.

That's the way to a better society. It's obvious when you think about it, isn't it?

Parents being in authority over their kids? What a bizarre notion!

And as for the idea of state intervention in family affairs, what's not to like? Come in, Mr Council Families Inspector, have a cup of tea. Would you like a room to yourself in which to allow the children to gain revenge for having their pocket money docked for not saying 'please' ***, or do you need to take them to somewhere away from here?

Oh, the grounding. Yes, that was because we caught the 14 year old girl shagging a 40 year old tramp behind an industrial bin. What's that you say? It's her right to be allowed out? £100 penalty charge notice for parental false imprisonment? Yes, sir, we won't do it again. Promise.

Listen, Maud de Beer-Pistacchio or whatever your name is, I've seen the future of our country first hand. Children who have nearly reached double figures in age without a clue about manners, or how to behave in public, with parents who couldn't give a fucking stuff about it. Some of them are years overdue a bloody good smacking, and that is in a fairly affluent area of the country.

Yet some lefty idealist fuck-monkey, in another pigging country, is trying to impose her view on family life on others ... and British MPs are actually listening to her. Now, tell me Cleggy-boy, again, why the EU is such a marvellous institution?

There really are times when one wonders if someone has been putting mercury in the fucking water. Mad as a box of frogs with distemper, they are.

* Yes, I've smacked one of mine for that
** And that
*** And I do that, too

Sunday 25 April 2010

Mea Culpa

I'm afraid I have been misleading you.

In the past, I have reported a government spend of £43m on smoking cessation arm-twisting services. Whenever the page is linked to, however, it disappears soon after, for some strange reason. It's almost as if there is something to hide.

New figures, though, show that I've been wrong all along. The total wasted spent has always been nearer to £52m.

My apologies.

Of course, since then the recession has bitten hard. As a result, public sector belt-tightening has, naturally, led to such expenditure being ...

Figures released showed almost a 20% rise in spending to £60.6 million, almost £9 million more than the same period in 2008.
... only increased by 20%.

Those frontline services must be protected, remember?

Saturday 24 April 2010

Simon Hoggart: Guardian Journalist Cum Dinosaur

It's not often that I dredge the nether regions of the Guardian, for obvious reasons, but this piece by Simon Hoggart deserves comment.

There he was, good old boy Simon, enjoying a sumptuous meal, opulent trimmings aplenty, with incumbent Horncastle & Louth MP Peter Tapsell.

I was invited for lunch, at his wonderful house. My visit was at an hour's notice, so I assume they eat like this every day. Lady Tapsell, who is from Normandy, served us a velvety watercress soup, accompanied by chilled Sancerre.

Lady Tapsell brought us delicious local roast beef, plus fried potatoes and a glass of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Sir Peter described his typical day, which consists of driving round the villages and market towns in an ancient Land Rover.

Lady Tapsell brought us the first of two desserts, caramelised strawberries, with dessert wine.
Now then, sunshine, stop right there a minute.

I do believe you have exceeded your daily alcohol limit, don't you? Just count 'em, you hazardous drinker, you.

Fried potatoes? Err, fried? Caramelised strawberries? Red meat? You're a heart attack victim in waiting, and no mistake. You weren't enjoying a meal with friends, you were being politely assassinated by murderous acquaintances.

Ones, I might add, who also commit ecocide on the world by driving a gas-guzzling 4x4, and not even a new clean green one, around the countryside. He'll be in jail soon, and quite rightly so, eh?

Yet you are defending his lifestyle. So much so, that you ridicule one of his opponents in the upcoming election.

[T]he Ukip candidate, Pat Nurse, seems more concerned with health. "I support lifestyle choice and an end to the denormalisation [sic] of adults who do not take on board health propaganda," whatever that means.
Were you still shit-faced on Tapsell's hospitality when you wrote this, Simon? The reason I ask is that you don't seem to have understanding of the word 'denormalisation'.

It's not spelled wrongly, so your application of 'sic' must mean that you, a Guardian journalist, haven't been keeping up with Labour's ever-changing use of language.

Your own rag has used the word liberally since 2007 when saggy-arsed Liam Donaldson first coined it.

"Some people would resent the idea of cigarettes being kept under the counter like magazines that you wouldn't want displayed. But I think that these are all part of the denormalisation process."
Yep, it looks like all the letters are in the same order. It is a word, after all ... just that you, the journalist, hadn't heard it before. A Ukip candidate is more in tune with modern parlance than you, it would seem. Fancy that?

So, seeing as you haven't a scooby what it means, Simon, let me explain. It is a process whereby normal, everyday enjoyments are being portrayed as somehow abnormal by health freaks.

By coincidence, the meal you enjoyed with Tapsell is part of the very denormalisation programme that you are too dull to have noticed. And by the very same soon-to-be-thank-fuck-for-that retired, Liam Donaldson, as an astute Zytophile once wrote.

The report goes on to assert that “Alcohol has a major impact on individual drinkers’ health.” No – it adversely affects the health of only a tiny minority. “It causes cancers of the liver, bowel, breast, throat, mouth, larynx and oesophagus; it causes osteoporosis; and it reduces fertility.” Yes, but in each case it increases the risk by only a tiny amount. For example, of women who don’t drink, 9.6 per cent get breast cancer; of women who do drink, 10.7 per cent do. In other words, one woman in a hundred gets breast cancer because she drinks. The same is true of other cancers: if you drink, it increases your chances of cancer by a tiny percentage. That does not, I suggest, justify the scare headlines in, for example, today’s Guardian that “no level of alcohol is safe”.
There are your employers again, Simon, spreading the scare.

No level of alcohol is safe. It's a rather regular refrain from them.

"From the standpoint of cancer risk the message of this report could not be clearer. There is no level of alcohol consumption that can be considered safe."
Sancerre, Chateau-neuf-du-Pape, and dessert wine? You're a right anti-social waste of NHS resources, you are!

Now, you ignorant, short-sighted moron, let's talk about how far 'denormalisation' has spread as a concept, shall we?

For a start, your host's choice of vehicle is out the window (ecocide, remember?). Especially if he ever, and I mean ever, exceeds the speed limit.

Speeding motorists should be 'treated like smokers' to make driving too fast socially unacceptable, a report to MPs says today. Road safety experts believe speeding must become as big a social taboo as smoking and drink-driving.
In fact, there is no end to the application of denormalisation. The Guardian (again) have reported eagerly on foods which should be considered socially unacceptable in the past, and will no doubt do so again once the denormalisers come after your fried potatoes or your rich caramel.

And if your EU-sceptic friend has ever raised the issue of wind turbines with his country-loving friends, dissent to their construction is also now to be deemed an opinion which must be eradicated.

[Ed Miliband] said: "The Government needs to be saying 'It is socially unacceptable to be against wind turbines in your area - like not wearing your seat belt or driving past a zebra crossing.'
See what he did there? It's called denormalisation. One 'l', no 'z'. Add it to your vocab, Simon.

What is so amusingly ironic about Simon's ill-informed slur is that the Ukip candidate was standing up for Simon's right to enjoy his meal with Tapsell without interference from the state.

That Simon couldn't see that, and instead tips the wink that he is going to repay his host's generous spread with ridicule of a political opponent, illustrates the dire paucity of talent in today's mainstream media.

Where have you been these last few years, Simon? She is defending, amongst many others, you!

Sailors And Socialists

Somewhat reminiscent of this?

"Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people's money."

Margaret Thatcher, February 1976

Link Tank 24/04

The good, the bad, and the plain psychotic

South Park's controversial 200th episode

Recipes containing 'freshly ground black people'

You know the world is screwed when people march for tax increases

Missing the point on booze marketing

Myths about capitalism

15 unintentionally perverted toys for children

Syria introduces smoking ban - few expected to abide by it

Reporter tries to fry his brain under a cell phone tower - guess what happened

Rantin Rab gets away with it

Salt: No limits yet, but they're thinking some up

"bottled water companies [...] are "scaring us, seducing us, misleading us" into buying their products"

When is 'real' graffiti not real? When government would be breaking their own laws if they did it, of course

Friday 23 April 2010

The Sky Is Falling

Yesterday was Earth Day, and just to show that the environmental scare stories you may have heard recently should be taken seriously, and not merely considered as the rantings of righteous loons seeking out their next grant, here is a prediction from the first Earth Day in 1970.

“The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”
Kenneth Watt, Ecologist
More stunningly accurate predictions here.

Won't Somebody Think Of The Penguins!

What on Earth did they do to deserve this?

The BNP will establish a penal station for extremely dangerous/violent repeat criminals (including rapists) on the British island of South Georgia.

Mascot Watch (5)

The Freedom Association are, quite rightly, throwing their weight behind our blog mascot's campaign. Today they e-mailed this appeal.

Philip Davies, who was elected as Conservative MP for Shipley in 2005, urgently needs YOUR help to retain his seat.

Philip has been a truly outstanding MP and it is absolutely vital to the campaign to free the United Kingdom from the EU Empire that he be returned to Parliament again on 6 May.

At a time when so many MPs have betrayed the public's trust in them, Philip shines out as a man of principle. The first MP to call for Britain to leave the EU, he has willingly sacrificed any prospect of self-advancement in order to lead the crusade to regain Britain's freedom and independence from Brussels.
Oh, more than just that. Described by VGIF as "the last liberal in parliament", Davies's libertarian credentials are immaculate.

OK, you want more proof? Here you go, he right winds those lefties up, so he does.

Scoring zero for seven of our ten categories has left Davies with a total progressive rating of just 4%. His profile has to be seen to be believed, but here are some impressively odious highlights.

On climate change he believes that “the government shouldn’t be doing more, they should be doing less”; a conviction that has led him to oppose laws to stop climate change in the Commons.

He has voted against equal gay rights, any Lords reform and has called for a repeal of the hunting ban as well as an abolition of the Human Rights Act.

Philip Davies is a keen member of not only the fervently right-wing Cornerstone Group but also the TaxPayers Alliance, a pressure group that calls for lower taxes and decreased investment in public services.

Added to this Philip is also the Parliamentary Spokesman for the Campaign Against Political Correctness and in October 2005 he also became the first Conservative MP to openly state that Britain should withdraw from the EU.
Err, and these are bad points how?

TFA have urged those who can to help Phil's campaign, and this blog can only agree wholeheartedly. Here are their suggestions.

1). Join Philip's campaign team in Shipley. Full details here - or call Shipley Conservatives on 01274 585 830.

2). Make a donation to Philip's campaign here.
If he gets up righteous noses so much, let's make sure he keeps them sneezing for another 5 years.

Thursday 22 April 2010

The Second Leaders' Debate Live Chat

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Leaders' Debate Live Blog

On Thursday evening at 8.00pm there will be a live blog here for the 2nd Live Leaders' Debate which is being broadcast on Sky News between 8.00pm and 9.30pm.

Come and join in with the chat which, apart from the opportunity to have your say, promises to be great fun as 10 blogs will all be hosting it simultaneously.

This 'chat' collaboration will be between All Seeing Eye, Barking Spider, Biased-BBC, Corrugated Soundbite, Dick Puddlecote, Governmentitus, GrumpyOldTwat, Man Widdecombe, Subrosa and Tory Totty Online, - all excellent and highly recommended blogs. If you haven't been to some of them before then please take this chance to try them out.

To catch the live blogging, come back here on Thursday, April 22nd just before 8pm

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Hung Or Balanced? Same Difference

If only there were still adverts boasting of things made in Wales, they could add 'balanced parliament' to the list.

It seemed odd when Plaid's Wyn Jones talked of it at their manifesto launch.

With a balanced parliament Plaid’s duty will be to negotiate the best deal for Wales and the best deal for our communities.
Isn'it? Look you. Down y'eare.

It's hung, boyo. A hung parliament. Baarlanced? What's that?

Then the yellow jockish kipper started saying it too.

Mr Salmond said: "Far from a balanced parliament being something to fear, it must be something to welcome."
As if the Welsh don't mess us up enough with that odd language which is English but not quite, along with the Scots who can say 'I love you' in an accent which makes you think they are really issuing a threat to scoop your eyeballs out with a rusty spoon, the Welsh give us 'baarlanced' and the Scots weigh in with 'Ah'm gonnae cut yooz oppen lak a tin o bekked beans yer bassa' (or balanced as my interpreter tells me he meant).

Is this a celtic thing?

Well, no. It would seem the Lib Dems are in on this new fad.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has talked of a "balanced" parliament in a bid to make the prospect of a Commons without any party holding an overall majority more attractive.
What's so avoidable about the term 'hung parliament'?

A prurient distancing of porn terminology, perhaps? As in "John Holmes was a hung actor", or "Linford Christie gained fame in the 1992 Olympics for his hung lunchbox"?

Or has the expenses issue resulted in so much releasing of damp, heated fear from their collars that, in their imagination, the mental image of a parliament being hung would come across as too appealing a prospect to the electorate?

If so, they're not too confident in the ability of the public to distinguish between objects and people. As Nick the Cat Counter points out.

Hung Parliament? Who cares?

Anyone up for a hanged Parliament?
Well, it's all off the agenda now. The new term is 'balanced'. It's more cuddly and less reminiscent of mass political slaughter. Yep, balanced it is going to have to be from now on.

Like this.

Do you know what? I like that much better. Thank you Wales.

Now, which of the post-election intake is first for the different type of rope?

Pic nicked from this story about a complete nutter

An Unpopularity Contest

From Peter King at the IEA.

Indeed, it is possible to present the change in Lib Dem support rather differently: this week they are opposed by only 70% of the electorate compared with 80% last week. This certainly doesn’t sound like a “game changer”. A more sane response to this small shift would be to conclude that Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems are now only as unpopular as Labour and the Conservatives.
Isn't perspective a wonderful thing?

Monday 19 April 2010

Ray Mears: Accidental Philosopher

I reckon this is a good place to curl one off

I've never watched one of Ray Mears's shows, I've never heard him speak before, and I'm sure, now that I have, that he would never have realised how philosophically astute he was on Radio 5 this afternoon.

In conversation with lefty, risk-averse, Comrade Beeb-cowed, tedious, righteous Richard Bacon, he came out with an unintentionally profound response to a quite lily-livered question (paraphrased).

Bacon: It must be awful for wild animals, living constantly with the threat of death. They could be eaten alive on any day, couldn't they?

Mears: They don't think like that, they just enjoy living.
Indeed they do. Encumbered by worrying every day that they might be set upon by a pack of hyenas, wildlife would cease to be, err, wild. They'd just stand in a circle watching each other's back and fall asleep with their eyes open.

We're supposed to be more evolved than animals, yet daily we see wild scare stories in the press exhorting us to introvert our lives yet more to eradicate the mere whiff of a health threat. And the more we are hectored, the more absurd the threats to life become.

When we see legislation being tabled by homo sapiens to restrict the use of salt in cooking, you know we are reaching quite ridiculous levels of paranoia. We've already experienced alarmism on a grand scale, with innocuous substances being elevated to the level of mustard gas, with ancient brews being targeted as killers, with food we have eaten for billions of years being held up as evil, with simply seeing something unhealthy being a death sentence, with the world stopping over a disputed threat, crikey I could go on, but you get the idea.

No, sod it, just a few more.

Kids being deprived of play as it's too dangerous, lollipop signs being banned if they carry dangerous tinsel, life-threatening flowers, lethal 40 year old books, and when you're dead, you're still a threat to the living.

There is a saying. Oh, how does it go again?

Got it ... shit happens.

When and where did we forget this? At which point in time did we cease taking negligible risks and start merely existing? What event, specifically, transformed us from a species who would suck the marrow out of life, into one which has had the life sucked out of us by fear and hysteria?

And when can we go back to just enjoying living?

Clear Signage

Man Widdicombe has kindly supplied me with a couple of samples of his delightful signs.

Yes, I know you're jealous, but just pop over to his gaff to find out how to get lots of your own.

Cameron's Big Society: Handing Us Power ... Selectively

All kinds of conundrums wander through one's mind while waiting for the juices to run clear over a hot barbecue.

Yesterday, they included 'Can the Coen Brothers ever top The Big Lebowski?', 'How does one go about becoming a professional breaker in of shoes?', 'What do bloodless dead fox cubs die of?', and ... 'This Big Society of which Dave speaks, how does that work exactly?'.

He will allow people to be “your own boss, sack your MP, run your own school, own your own home, veto council tax rises, vote for your police, save your local pub or post office, and see how the government spends your money”.
You see, it struck me - just before I flipped another burger over the searing hot flames that we are still, for the time being anyway, allowed to light without state interference - that all these things assume a measure of intelligence from British people.

And if we assume that people are intelligent enough to make such important decisions, it should follow that they are also able to weigh up benefits and risks, and therefore determine their own choices in life.

Choices such as, for example, whether to indulge in marijuana or not, which foods they'd like to eat, how many units of alcohol to consume in a week, and the choice of entering a smoking or non-smoking pub.

You know, like that 'personal responsibility' which Dave keeps banging on about, eh Dave?

Dave? Err, Dave? Hello?

Sunday 18 April 2010

For Fox Sake

What a sight greeted me on opening the full-length french window curtains this morning. An azure blue sky, with not a cloud, or billow of volcanic fallout, in sight. Yesterday's crisply-mown grass bathed in Spring sunshine, a barbecue which seemed to be pleading for use ... and a dead fox cub slap bang in the middle of the back garden.


So, having located a spade, I waved my way through the congregating flies and scooped it into a black bin bag. Not an easy task seeing as it had died lying full length, tail straight out and was stiff as a board. In hindsight I should have put him in head first as his snout and half-open eyes were peeping out of the top of the bag. I found that a bit creepy so another bag was required to go over the top.

What to do with it now, though? I didn't fancy it rotting in my bin for four days and, being Sunday, no-one was answering the phone at the council. Can you believe I actually tried to ring them? Yeah, seriously. I actually had a notion that there might be a skeleton staff on a Sunday fielding calls. Don't laugh.

Still, the dump waste and recycling centre was open so off I trotted to do my civic duty and dispose of it responsibly.

Now, in common with other authorities, this council has long since dispensed with you running in, dumping your waste and letting the employees, whose wages we pay, sort it out. Nope, we have to sort it into about a dozen different receptacles ourselves. And of course, a stream of householders understandably wandering around like confused chickens trying to work out where to put everything takes time.

Hence the 50 minute queue to get in the place.

The centre is so close that I could have walked there, but that's out too as they won't allow you in on foot. Can you guess why?

The council love to boast about how environmentally friendly their recycling initiatives are, but I'm sure they don't count engine emissions from queues of 50 cars, waiting 50 minutes each, over a 6 hour period, every Sunday.

Still, I couldn't think of anywhere else to dispose of it, so just played Jewels on my phone as I inched along to the site, with one of the little Puddlecotes (the girl), bored as hell, alerting me each time the car in front moved.

I finally reached the front of the queue where a kind of triage dump worker waste management operative, grimacing as I described my cargo, directed me to the landfill container.

Those naughty bags aren't allowed in the landfill container so two guys waste technicians were on hand to help empty the contents. I told them I had a dead fox and panic ensued.

"We don't do dead animals!", one repeatedly exclaimed, "We don't DO dead animals, do we John?" was barked over at the orange-jacketed guy overseeing the rubble skip. "No, mate, we don't do dead animals", came the expected reply. By now, everyone who was previously busy throwing their rubbish in skips had stopped and were looking at me, holding a big black bag, and wondering what kind of dead animal I was trying to dump.

A ten minute conversation with a supervisor ensued, during which I was told I should call the RSPCA, tried that; that I should call the council, tried that; that it was 'chemical waste' and that "we don't do dead animals". By this time, I was getting the idea that they didn't do dead animals.

"Dead animals can carry diseases, you see, mate. You'll have to take it home and call the council tomorrow". I pointed out, politely, that the precise fucking reason I brought it to them was that dead animals carry diseases and I didn't want it in my garden.

That was when one had the idea that, and I'm not kidding, I could just throw it over into my neighbour's garden. I am usually good at thinking on my feet but I stared at him and couldn't think of an answer to such a daft suggestion. It seemed like there was an impasse until I asked if there was anyone they could ring on a Sunday. They all shook their heads ... until one got his phone out and rang someone called Mick. The call lasted about 20 seconds, after which he told me I could leave it there and they would get the council to collect it in the morning.

"We don't normally do dead animals,", he explained (you don't fucking say!), "but as it's Sunday, Mick says it's OK". Hallelujah! Thank the Lord for Mick, whoever he is.

This happens every time I try to get rid of waste items. Regular readers might remember the opposite of recycling when B&Q refused to take back, for free, brand new kitchen cabinet doors and panels. And if you've never tried to organise collection of corrugated asbestos roof panels, which had been minding their own business on my garage since 1929 before being replaced, at which time they became nuclear in their make-up, you quite simply haven't trawled the depths of local authority bureaucracy and intransigence.

Now, I'm quite happy to do my bit to ensure rubbish is disposed of responsibly, as are most people, but how can councils complain about fly-tipping or householders simply hiding recyclables in refuse bags, when they put so many obstacles in front of us?

After wasting an hour and a half of a rare sunny April Sunday battling with an ill thought-out civic amenity, I'm not eager to repeat the experience and can see why many choose to hang the consequences and just get their rubbish out of sight and mind by whatever means possible.

And a fox deciding, of all the hundreds of gardens around here, to drop dead in mine, doesn't make me too averse to Cameron's free vote to repeal the hunting ban, either ... though I wouldn't want to be the hunt follower who has the job of disposing of the carcass on a Sunday.

Saturday 17 April 2010

Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad

It's always fun when an inexperienced press start fumbling around with betting prices.

William Hill slashed its odds from 300/1 to 25/1 amid the “biggest betting frenzy” on the party since Lloyd George was Prime Minister.

The bookmakers also shortened its odds, from 20/1 to 10/1, that the party would win more than 100 seats in the next Parliament.

Odds of a Conservative victory shortened from 8-11 before the debate to 4-5 by the end.

Yeah, err, nearly there. A little more homework required for inverse fractionals, methinks.

Strangely enough, while a Telegraph journo was confusing his or herself, somewhere a roadsweeper was mentally calculating the returns from an each way yankee without any problem at all.

Link Tank 17/04

I've been busy and getting the right arse with just about everything, so not many links this week. But then I did once say that there were no rules for Link Tank. I'd particularly recommend the top two here, though.

MP apathy in passing the Digital Economy Bill

Paternalism can 'nudge' people into a bad direction

Anti-rape condom, complete with penis spines, for the World Cup

Software which targets private online forums

Introducing the 'wine purse' with built-in dispenser

Good dog

Black cabs cost more than Concorde

Hype and manipulation in the Mephedrone debate

Thursday 15 April 2010

You Do It Best, When You Do Nothing At All

Fatherly chats influence smoking, Cardiff study finds

Boys and girls who discuss issues that are important to them with their fathers are less likely to smoke in their early years, a study has found.

A big factor in stopping children trying cigarettes was how often their fathers talked with them about "things that mattered".
Note that the headline wasn't ...

Scary TV adverts influence smoking, Cardiff study finds
... or ...

Tobacco display bans influence smoking, Cardiff study finds
... or ...

School-based smoking prevention programmes influence smoking, Cardiff study finds
Nope. Just dads.

Hardly surprising, really. What the state will never realise (or admit) is that we minions really can sort things out for ourselves occasionally.

In fact, more than often than not, positive results occur when the state keeps its interfering conk out of our affairs.

Did I hear someone say 'massive public sector cuts'?

(apologies for the Ronan Keating paraphrased title)

Easy Targets

VGIF has been reading up on days gone by, and came up with this book quote.

Having a ciggy in a saloon bar is now as unthinkable as driving without a seatbelt.
As we are in a reminiscing mood, this got me thinking.

Samuel Fitzgerald, 20, was attacked outside the Thornhill Arms in Wynford Road, Islington, on Wednesday night.

He suffered stab wounds to the body and was taken to the Royal London Hospital where he died.
Remember the days when people were violently attacked inside pubs?

Mascot Watch (4)


UKIP to back Eurosceptics in other parties

The party said the Conservative candidates they will not campaign against are Philip Davies in Shipley, Douglas Carswell in Clacton, Janice Small in Batley and Spen, Alex Story in Wakefield and Philip Hollobone in Kettering.

Neither will they challenge independent Bob Spink in Castle Point.
Superb. No UKIP dilution of blog mascot Philip's vote. But then, they didn't dilute it last time around either as they didn't field a candidate in 2005.

However, that 400 majority looks more vulnerable regardless. You see, the left wing BNP won't be taking any votes from Labour (oh yes, that's exactly what happens) this year ... and they got 2,000 of them in 2005.

{Gulp} He's toast.

Dog Owners, Consider Yourselves Denormalised

Just a quickie as I have important stuff to do today.

Newark and Sherwood District council has banned dogs from nearly all of its parks, playgrounds and open spaces in the most severe clampdown seen in England and Wales.

"The council takes its responsibility seriously to work with local communities to keep children's play areas free of dog mess and its open spaces clean and green."
Remember, they're not banning dogs altogether, just asking you to step outside the areas they have deemed that you can't use. What's to complain about, eh?

And if you do object?

"Somebody has got to take a stand somewhere and I know we are not going to please all of the people but that's tough."
Oh, how fucking funny.

Do read the whole thing as squealing dog owners and bodies wonder what happened to personal responsibility and tolerance. And not a hint of fake science anywhere. After all, there isn't the need anymore since denormalisation became an acceptable political tool.

I think it's a cracking idea. Let's ban dogs from pubs too. Some people don't like them and choice and property rights should never, ever, be allowed to rear their ugly heads. For the chiiildren, of course.

Come and join us on the dark side, dog owners, you are now officially a stain on decent society. Enjoy your smokefree pint, with your dog safely shoved outside, and think on.

And yes, I'm being savagely sarcastic.

H/T Man Widdicombe

Tuesday 13 April 2010

Cameron A Libertarian? In Our Dreams

Jackie Ashley, who was once described as, well, not very clever, has been spewing forth on CiF. And it initially appeared that she was as deluded as described on reading this.

There has always been a big divide between anti-state, or libertarian, conservative thinking; and moralistic, traditional Toryism. Up to now, most observers would have put Cameron and George Osborne (more liberal than his boss) in the first group.
Cameron? Libertarian? Up to now?

I don't know which observers she is referencing here, but it's certainly not a description which would ring any bells in Puddlecoteville. He's not shy about divorcing himself from the idea of liberty at all. In fact, he boasted about running away very quickly from such a stance, to huge applause, at conference 2008, and also showed that he didn't have the first clue what the word 'libertarian' means, let alone being classed as one.

And then, reading further, it became clear. She wasn't deluded at all. She was merely precariously propping up a straw man and, having done so, Jackie proceeds to knock it down.

I thought modern Conservatives wanted less of the state. I thought they'd spent the last few years accusing Gordon Brown and Harriet Harman of too much finger-wagging and "nannying", telling us what do when it comes to smoking, drinking, bringing up our children. And now, what's their big thought for the first week of campaigning? Just the same sort of meddling, but from a socially conservative angle.

It leads me to think that, if the Tories win, they will be just as keen on meddling and lecturing and just as ready to use state power and authority.
Of course they will. There was never really any doubt once the buffed blue bore caught a whiff of power.

The problem, of course, is that Jackie was never going to come to any other conclusion. Her kind sneer at libertarianism as much as they dislike moral rectitude, but one is easier to slap down than the other, so the message is subtlely shifted.

In the week ahead, Cameron and co are going to have to get their message clear. Are they high Tories with strong moral principles to be imposed on the rest of us, or are they metropolitan liberals?
And there it is. Having incorrectly lined up Cameron as a libertarian, espousing freedom, she cuts the idea off at the knees by correctly pointing out that he isn't anything of the sort.

Then, she decides that freedom is something that The Guardian have been promoting in their authoritarian kind of way, and so emphasis is shifted away from that to something that Cameron, might - just might - impose on us. Always ignoring the fact that many may quite like the idea of morals trumping metro liberal heart-bleeding.

Yes, she is writing for the Guardian and it is to be expected, but damning a political leader for abandoning a wholly imagined recent position would be laughable except for the fact that the very reason Cameron is so wet is precisely because of faux-balanced lefty trolls like her.

There is nothing wrong with a libertarian outlook on life, and there is nothing wrong with instilling values such as personal responsibility in the public at large. As such, it speaks volumes about the prevailing political atmosphere, perpetually cemented by shrieking lefty harridans like Jackie, that the idea of promoting true conservative ideals scares umpteen shades of blue out of the Tories.

Worth A Click

"If a political party promised just one thing, what would you like it to be?"
To send a message to the righteous that a line has been drawn in the sand, this suggestion would be a good 'un**.

** Requires registration but only takes 10 seconds

Scary, Isn't It?

This isn't something which Sir Alan flogging a few more premium bonds can solve. And with increases of £5,000+ per second, the planned £6bn tinkering which Labour and the Tories are squabbling about are the absolute minimum measures all parties should be taking.

But will TPA's Debt Clock manage to persuade our cosseted population that it's belt buckling time? Only if it turns up in Albert Square or Coronation Street, I suspect.

H/T The Devil

Monday 12 April 2010

Labour's Manifesto

Labour Manifesto 2005: "We will legislate to ensure that all enclosed public places and workplaces other than licensed premises will be smoke-free.The legislation will ensure that all restaurants will be smoke-free; all pubs and bars preparing and serving food will be smoke-free; and other pubs and bars will be free to choose whether to allow smoking or to be smoke-free. In membership clubs the members will be free to choose whether to allow smoking or to be smoke-free."

Gillian Merron, Jan 2010: "We have given a commitment to review the impact of the smokefree law three years after its implementation on 1 July 2007. The review will take place in the latter part of 2010".

Labour Manifesto, April 2010: "The ban on smoking in public places will be maintained."

The Wheat And The Chaff

Late on parade this evening as I've been learning some interesting stuff. They say that travel broadens the mind but so does pulling up your sleeves and getting mired in state and local red tape and bureaucracy. Still, as Robert Kyosaki talked about in his book, the more you experience in an array of different fields, the better your knowledge and the more armed you are for the future ... even if it is understanding better how authorities wish to defend their salary by making life as difficult as possible for everyone else.

Anyway ...

I've been thinking of compiling a list, originally it was for personal entertainment on election night, of those standing for parliament who we quite like, and those who are quite appalling.

Unfortunately, as Gerald Warner has highlighted, one of those near the top of any such list of the latter would be Tory MP for Tunbridge Wells, Greg Clark.

“Had it not been for Conservative leadership on the environment during this Parliament, Britain would have no feed-in tariffs, no renewable heat incentive, no ban on new unabated coal, no roll-out of smart meters and no Climate Change Act 2008. On every measure, Labour first opposed us and then adopted our policy. So will the Secretary of State say, ‘Thank you’ to the Conservative Party for achieving more in opposition in five years than Labour’s 19 ministers did in 13 years of dithering in office?”
I feel sure we would all like to thank the Cameronian Party for that pro-active record on AGW crusading and the further impositions it has planned for us. The appropriate date for expressing our gratitude is Thursday, 6 May.

Sadly, the deluded moron has a 10,000+ majority in a constituency where a polished turd with a blue rosette could win. Greg isn't even lightly dusted but will still triumph even if he anally rogered the local WI (actually, bad analogy as he'd probably increase his majority).

Which means he's one of many unshiftable opponents of property rights and freedom in the new parliament, if his turning up for a gloat at a FOREST sponsored event in 2008 is anything to go by.

Views ranged from those strongly opposed to the smoking ban to those broadly in favour. (Greg Clark, Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells, told me that constituents often come up and congratulate him for voting for the ban. Hmmm.)
Yes, he's a bit of a cock all round, really. I'm sure he liberally enjoyed the hospitality, though.

On the flipside, the above event was hosted by our esteemed blog mascot, Philip Davies, who was talking perfect sense as usual, and would be at the very top of the 'friendly' list. See the video for yourself if you aren't yet fully signed up to the Davies fan club.

In contrast to idiotarian Clark, Davies has a mere 400 majority.

Considering that the Tory party used to be about self-determination, rights of the individual, and freedom from state interference, there's something not quite right with this disparity.

They're a bit mad, them Tories.

What we need is a list. A good one. Of those who are worth voting for in the coming election (from any party) as they will defend personal liberty, and those who should be opposed at all costs.

I'll start.

Good: Philip Davies (Tory, Shipley)
Bad: Greg Clark (Tory, Tunbridge Wells)

I'm sure we can come up with something definitive, given time. Suggestions welcome for golden time or the naughty corner. Pass it on.

Sunday 11 April 2010

Cough Up, Liam

So, now we know. We were stung to the tune of about £300 million for swine flu vaccines we didn't need during the pandemic that never was last year.

The main blame for the global swine flu hysteria lies squarely with the World Health Organisation**. But in Britain, most of it lies with the Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, who warned us that some 60,000 people could die from swine flu and encouraged the Government to lay in enough vaccine to inoculate the entire nation.

But 60,000 people didn't perish of swine flu. Indeed, the figure was hastily revised down to 1,000 people, but even that wasn't realised.

In Britain, 457 people died after contracting it. But because 80 per cent of them had underlying health problems, the real figure was more like 100. In Poland, which didn't buy vaccines at all, the flu killed 140 people out of 40 million.

Sir Liam's hyperbole cost us dear.
Simple. Send the saggy-arsed tosser the bill.

And while we're at it, also send him another for the cost to the economy of 5,000+ pub closures since 2007.

** Err, that should be the unelected World Health Organisation.

£350,000 Well Spent

I see London Labour MEP, Hairy Moneyball, has been talking of issues vital to all Londoners again.

Last week I read an inspired campaign in my local paper about a group who successfully lobbied Sainsbury’s supermarket to remove sexist labelling from its children’s dressing up clothes. The clothes reinforced the typical gender stereo typing of roles including labelling a nurses outfit as ‘Girl’ and a pilot, soldier and superhero outfit as ‘Boy’.

The kind of stereo typing by a supermarket giant like Sainsbury’s is especially dangerous because the public trust and recognise what they are told by the brand it is therefore a powerful voice and has the ability to reinforce such messages. In this instance the message sexist labelling sends to children and young women is, that their aspirations will always be limited.
No it doesn't, you daft fucking bint, it's simply a reflection of the natural fact that little boys tend to prefer dressing up as a pilot rather than a nurse, and that little girls would much rather don an Elizabeth Swann dress than an Incredible Hulk one.

Isn't it comforting to know that Hairy is using her extra wide seat in Brussels, for which you pay around £350,000 per year, to highlight matters so essential for the prosperity of the capital?

If All Else Fails ... Terrify

Iain Dale is making a big deal out of the Sunday Times article on leaflets Labour have sent to cancer sufferers, and rightly so.

Cancer patients who received the personalised cards, sent with a message from a breast cancer survivor praising her treatment under Labour, said they were “disgusted and shocked”, and feared that the party may have had access to confidential health data.

Labour sources deny that the party has used any confidential information.
Well, that's all right then ...

... actually, no it damn well isn't. Sorry, Labour, but I'm all out of trust in you.

I don't know why that could be, perhaps it is the refusal to honour 2005 manifesto promises (or the court case undertaken to fight against honouring them), maybe it's the ritual denial of what we all know to be true, or it could be the ignorance shown towards its people by a party which values only its own survival.

Labour's claim that they haven't targeted cancer sufferers is hollow. I simply don't believe it.

In the Labour constituency of Sherwood, Nottinghamshire, two of a group of eight women friends received the breast cancer card. They are the only two to have undergone cancer treatment.

In the marginal east London constituency of Poplar and Limehouse, the card was sent to a 44-year-old television producer who had a potentially cancerous lump that turned out to be a cyst. She appeared to be the only person who received the mailshot among 50 neighbours.
Dizzy explains the supposed method used, but as he implies, it just doesn't wash.

[...] it was done by using anonymous data mashup from Experian to work out roughly where someone with cancer lives. They hold anonymous hospital data with postcodes and medical diagnosis. Think of it like a shotgun being targeted at a door but the pellets spread out and hit many targets in a specific area.
Unless, of course, the shotgun contains cancer-seeking pellets.

In fact, the only way that Labour can possibly be telling the truth is if they are merely naive recipients of an almost 'perfect' list of targets.

The cards are being distributed by Ravensworth, part of Tangent Communications, which has won accounts sending out mail for the Department of Health and Cancer Research UK.

[Damian Bentley, managing director of Tangent] failed to respond to a list of questions on how the addresses of the cancer victims were obtained.
Christ! I think he should bloody well start answering questions sharpish, don't you? Time to get someone like, I dunno, the Information Commissioner, to ask them.

And all this without mentioning what a quite sick electoral tactic it is to use cancer as a political tool.

Labour have bullied the public into submission on a wide array of issues under the veiled threat of harm, paedohysteria, cancer and death before ... but this is a whole new level of evil, self-centred arrogance.

And there was me believing that torching a fat boy effigy in the town square was as low as these maggots could go.

UPDATE: NickM describes it perfectly - "Politics as a protection racket"

Saturday 10 April 2010

Jacqui Smith Nearly Gets It

Warmer, getting warmer, ooh ...

However, Miss Smith said that she did not think her expenses would be the main issue about her re-election.
Getting very hot, hotter ...

“People are more worried about paying their mortgages and keeping their jobs. I think I have been made a scapegoat in many ways,” said Miss Smith.
No, Jacqui, you're cooling right off now. And you were so close.

Of course MPs were targeted disproportionately over expenses. You were hammered because of other issues, so you're correct on that score.

But if you can't see that, as the front for a highly unpopular ID cards scheme, amongst other illiberal initiatives, your refusal to listen to valid concerns from your voters fuelled the gleeful kicking you and porno Dickie received, you really don't understand people at all, do you?

The public don't like being ignored, Jacqui, especially by those who are elected to serve them. It really is as simple as that.

You want to win the election? Tell the voters of Redditch that Labour will do what the people want in future and not whatever you damn well please in cahoots with your state-paid buddies.

Got that? No, I didn't think so.


I Gotta Horse!

Prince Monolulu hollering his catchphrase in 1927 (explained here)

We cover most of the vices here, but the betting tag isn't used too often, so let's put that right by throwing some cash around on Grand National day.

I'm already on Arbor Supreme having taken 40/1 ante-post in February. Best price is now 16s so I'm happy with the value there. Nicely weighted, the going is to his liking and he has a future star jockey guiding him.

However, I've simply got to top up with a punt on My Will, still 40/1 in places. Was third last year and his name sums up the ethos of this blog. My will, not the will of the state or anyone else. Oh yes.

Best of luck whichever you choose, and if there's any horse you particularly fancy, don't keep it to yourself, share in the comments and reap a year's worth of bragging rights if it wins.

Up-to-date best prices from major bookies can be viewed here.

Burn The Fat Bastard!

Unhealthy! Unclean! Untermensch!

40ft effigy of boy eating burger [...] will be burned as part of healthy eating drive

The 40ft giant effigy - which will cost several thousands to make - is to be paraded through the streets of Barnsley as part of a healthy eating drive.

It will form part of the mayor's parade and summer gala in July before finally being set alight to symbolise 'the shedding of unhealthy elements of our lifestyles'.

The controversial idea was dreamt up by NHS and council bosses in the town to fight some of the highest obesity rates in the UK.
So, having achieved denormalisation and pariah status for smokers, and with similar plans for drinkers currently being hammered out, it's time to begin on the fatties.

Not a burning effigy of the food itself, you notice, but the fat boy who succumbs to evil. He must be cast out, demonised, and made to recant from his wicked ways by the Church of Health's state-funded crusaders.

If this is supposed to scare fatties into submission, it's not likely to work according to another professional body this week. Following swiftly on from the British Psychological Society stating that scare tactics backfire, comes the same conclusion from PR professionals.

Audience Communications chief executive Ed Gyde told a group of public health experts at the end of last month that campaigns that used shock tactics to target young people on public health issues had little impact on changing behaviour.
Yet sick-minded, state-paid health authorities continue with appalling initiatives such as burning the fat boy, or deliberately making fat people suffer, and those cuddly Change4Life ads will no doubt soon be abandoned for something more 'hard-hitting' (ie, psychotic) as the cries of 'something must be done' become more and more hysterical.

Organised hatred is not a fascist 1930s excess anymore, it is government policy. And it is being promoted by all three main parties.

I really can't find words to express the extent of my disgust at what these people are doing, what Labour have encouraged, and what opposition parties are quite happy to perpetuate.

It is hideous state-sponsored bullying, pure and simple. This latest effigy idea, especially, has massive potential to result in harm for fat kids, just as previous irrational righteous health drives have led to violence and death.

The picture above is of terrified health freaks burning Jews, whom they blamed for the black death, in the middle ages. Modern health nutters can't get away with physically burning those they hate anymore, but they can fantasise about it, so what better way to satisfy their sick urges than by seeing a burning effigy of a person who offends their holier-than-thou sensibilities.

There is only one way to describe them. Cunts. Every preachy, self-righteous, interfering one of them.

Niemoller has never been more relevant.

Link Tank 10/04

I think you know the drill by now.

It's what happens when you ban smells in public spaces ... Detroit bans perfume

Industrial action to love

US government helped save Pfizer from crippling sanctions after they ignored the law

How US safety laws are denying freedom of choice and inhibiting the cocktail makers' craft [YouTube 8 mins]

Voting negatively is the only principled thing to do

Botham was talking balls, whole grains aren't any more healthy than refined ones

Are you an 'out-of-the-closet' authoritarian?

History's most outlandish crisp flavours

Europe will be an invisible issue during this election

Arsenic, the cancer cure

NI: The £6bn will not leave the economy, just stay in the pockets of those who earned it

Our favourite screen goddesses

Friday 9 April 2010

Labour Kill Businesses, Especially Pubs

Cameron adroitly targeted a raw Labour nerve during PMQs on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister has made the decision to introduce a jobs tax which will kill the recovery. This morning on GMTV, he said that business leaders who oppose this decision have been deceived. Is the Prime Minister really telling us that he knows more about job creation than business leaders who employ almost a million people in this country?
Of course he is. I'm surprised he took his fingers out of his ears long enough to understand the question, to be honest.

You see, we've always known that Labour hold to the attitude that they always know better than anyone else, but refusing to accept that a flood of top business leaders may have a point really does make them look rather stupid.

There they are, clutching the same numbers every week, convinced that they are going to win the lottery of business ideas when the odds are stacked high against them. Quite incapable of admitting their folly, they continue adhering to dogma and ideology while closing their every sense to the damage they are causing, or are about to cause.

It's a case which has been conclusively proven in their destruction of the hospitality industry. A fact they not only refuse to admit but, astoundingly, try to spin in the opposite direction.

Survey data, anecdotal evidence and reports in the media seem to indicate that the impact on the hospitality trade as a whole has been at worst neutral and in many cases positive. We have seen no significant evidence to date that implies that smokefree legislation [...] will create any long-term economic problems for pubs or the hospitality trade in general.
Gillian Merron also parroted this nonsense despite personally meeting a delegation of publicans from her Lincoln constituency ... just before she threw their petition in the bin.

It will come as no surprise that the experience of the trade is brutally at odds with Labour's wild flight of fantasy.

The smoking ban attracted plenty of comment. Despite being in place now for nearly three years, two thirds agreed the ban should be partially appealed to allow more choice, as 72 per cent said it had hampered their business.
I'm not sure that could be classed as "at worst neutral, and in many cases positive", are you?

It certainly isn't positive for Labour's election chances. This conclusion filled the Puddlecote household with much glee.

Only two per cent of the 169 licensees responding to our survey said they would vote Labour on May 6.
The Publican, who carry this survey, have laid out an election 'manifesto' which they will be presenting to the parties, and hey, look at this proposal.

4. Review the smoking ban in light of its impact on trade
You know, the impact which Labour, turning their sand-buried heads and having a look around, are absolutely certain hasn't happened.

Still, there will be a review. In fact it is already underway, but the result has already been purchased by Labour. They're spending about a million quid on it. Only £47,000 on the effect it has had on pubs, though.

4. Smokefree - feasibility study - secondary analysis of data relating to the hospitality sector

Cost: £47,000

Status: Ongoing

Contractor: University of Aberdeen .

Principal researcher: Prof Anne Ludbrook.

Publication: no outputs to date.
So, this Anne Ludbrook, she must be a publican, yeah? Or a brewer, or a distiller, or someone involved in the hospitality industry in some way?

Of course not.

Anne Ludbrook, Programme Director of the Evaluation of Health Improvement Programme, University of Aberdeen

[...] she has been involved in a range of research activities and in consultancy work for the NHS and the World Health Organisation. Her current research interests are focussed around the use of economics in health improvement. Recently completed work relates to the cost-effectiveness of interventions for alcohol misuse, the effect of income change on health and the health and economic impacts of smoking in public places.
And they say the tobacco industry is crooked?

Publicans are crying out for help. In the industry, three quarters of those still trading after Labour's hammer blow are suffering financially, and there is a concerted campaign in favour of an amendment.

Yet Labour commission research exclusively from those who have made a multi-million pound business out of producing statistics to order, and use health advocates to scrutinise the hospitality industry.

Labour are truly, abhorrently corrupt. There is no other word for it.

If you run a business, or wish to hold down a job, in this country, your chances are a lottery which depend on the whims of quite appalling Labour bastards.

Like I said before. Expenses? It wasn't the paltry sums involved, it was just a chance to give politicians a well-deserved bloody nose. One day, these anti-social hooligans might learn some respect for the electorate.

Transport Tender Question Of The Day

"Do you employ a dedicated Environmental Manager/Department?"
Yes, and we also pay £30k pa for someone to monitor our impact on the fairies at the end of the yard.


Thursday 8 April 2010

Truth Hurts, So Politicians Just Ignore It

In the late 90s I was invited to take part in a focus group.

I'd heard of them, of course - apparently Tony Blair was running a government which hung on their every conclusion at the time (a bit like an old school Mumsnet) - but I'd never been involved personally.

I've always been a busy person, especially when shopping. If I need a pair of jeans, I park, go straight to the shop, buy some, come home. A life led slowly ambling around a pedestrianised high street, stopping for the odd leisurely coffee, chatting to the clipboard wavers and generally hanging around in the most irritating of places, like shop fucking doorways, has always struck me as a waste of precious life experience.

However, my curiosity tweaked by Labour's reported strict adherence to opinions given in such groups, one day I actually stopped when approached by an insanely large woman looking for candidates.

Sadly, it turned out not to be anything to do with politics but an opinion-seeking drive by Sainsbury following then recent news that they were falling well behind Tesco in market share.

I was offered a £30 fee for an hour and a half, they'd take me there and back, and refreshments were provided. Well, why not, thought I? It was worth a look at this much discussed world.

The event was held in plush offices overlooking the Thames, with a two way mirror behind which, one presumes, executives were looking for ideas on how to claw back their customers.

The tasty young girl hosting proceedings for the dozen of us was firing ideas around which we were supposed to talk about. Was the presentation wrong? Could the uniforms be a more friendly colour? Would more parking, or a bigger choice of trolleys help? How about offering a coffee shop? A crèche? Shopping advisers? The other participants gave their views positively or not, but nothing achieved much of a consensus.

I hadn't said a lot up till then because, to be frank, not a bit of it interested me at all. It must have been noticed as, just past the hour mark, the girl singled me out and asked my views on the subject matter. I still remember my exact words.

"Well, I haven't said much because nothing you mentioned is going to make any difference. People go to supermarkets to get inexpensive food. Sainsbury's is not as cheap as Tesco's and that's why customers are going elsewhere"
At which, I looked around the room and it was as if a light bulb had switched on, lit up to an unsustainable brightness, then exploded. The rest of the group were unanimous, and enthusiastically vocal, in pointing out that if Sainsbo's dropped prices, they'd be there like a shot.

After about 5 minutes of this, our host, visibly irritated or stressed, shifted the conversation back to her previous topics by stating that prices were not what we were meant to be discussing. Her brief was merely the cosmetic items previously proffered.

The group tried their best for the last 20 minutes or so, but price kept cropping up, and almost with a sigh, we were eventually let out early. I got the distinct impression that our group wasn't a success for those behind the mirror.

Sainsbury didn't want to change their prices, they wanted to get customers back by any other means possible. They were ignoring the problem.

I was reminded of this yesterday as politicians fell over each other to explain what they were going to do to 'reform parliament'.

Fixed term parliaments, recall of naughty MPs, lobbying bans, bans on second homes, tougher regulations on troughing, and the Lib Dems decrying the other two for not doing anything which they knew about a long time ago ... but said nothing about at the time.

It's all bollocks, and avoids the real problem, much as the Sainsbury execs did.

The expenses scandal wasn't about a million quid. The waste from government and public sector dwarfs such a paltry sum much as the Millenium Dome dwarfs a fucking ant. No-one particularly gives much of a shit.

It's the people who were taking the money which turned a minor abuse into an excuse for mass vitriol and hatred. Not because they pinched a few bob, but because these people were already despised.

Despised for ignoring their electorate in favour of politically manipulated studies, public consultations which exclude the public and even, yes, focus groups guided to reach the conclusion governments wish to see.

Despised for stripping away civil liberties, personal freedoms, property rights, self autonomy, and the right to live a life unencumbered by bureaucracy.

Despised for inflicting their own morals, prejudices, life choices, ideology, fears and opinions on those who would rather choose our own.

Despised for every fine, restriction, ban, tax, regulation, clampdown, crusade and dogmatic war they have declared on voters who may have a different outlook on life.

They were held in contempt well before the expenses scandal. It was just a handy hat on which to hang all the frustration and hate stored up by years of government abuse.

RIPA, health and safety, risk-aversion, the assault on motorists, bastardisation of the justice system, quite extraordinarily imaginative new taxes, politicisation of schooling, bin taxes, surveillance, collective punishment, smoking bans, released criminals, jailed law-abiders, DNA databases, illegal wars, class-led politics, adherence to fake charities, quangoes, bent enquiries, broken manifesto promises, lying, hectoring, lecturing, disdain and a refusal to listen. All have taken their toll.

Every voter ignored or targeted is another enemy of this political class and another individual who must be subjugated into 'compliance'. They can talk about putting right the corruption, but it don't matter a jot. It was never relevant, just a quite glorious excuse for all of us to give them one hell of a kick in the balls.

Fixing their excesses won't cure the root cause of the problem. Only a declared undertaking to listen to their employers - that is, us - will do that. And not just the majority, either. All of us.

But, as Kevin B wrote earlier on the subject of taxation, there is little chance that such a thing will happen, their mentality is too ingrained.

When The Sun said in 1992 'Will the last person to leave Britain please turn of the lights' they were right. Problem is they were also wrong, it didn't matter who won that election. It doesn't matter who wins any election any more.

Tinkering with the machinations of parliament doesn't even touch on the symptoms of the political disease. That of a class of person who causes division on a whim, places obsession-based obstacles in front of a public who simply wish to live a decent life, and creates stress, anger, and ire amongst everyone who comes into contact with authority.

We could care less about the upcoming election, but not much, as Charlotte Gore expresses in her much-missed style.

In the choice between the Conservatives or Labour, the only real loser is everyone else. A different bunch of vested interests calling the shots, different types of interference with people’s normal day to day lives and I’ve no doubt that the State will be bigger and more expensive by the time they’re through, no matter what. Taxes are going to go up, the Private Sector will continue to shrink and there’s only one direction that Civil Liberties are going in. “I’m not a libertarian” boasts Cameron. He loses my vote and the people he’s trying to impress tell him to pull the other one.

The only difference it makes is how many years of each party we’re going to have in Government over the next 20 years or so. Labour gets in and we’ll have a couple of decades of the Tories after that. The Tories get in and they’ll probably be swapping power between them a lot more often… is that better or worse? Who knows?
There are many subjects which will be talked about in the coming weeks, but every one will be chosen by the parties.

They will nibble at the edges of the problem, but none will properly address it.

What will be very obvious is the avoidance of issues which are held dear by the public whose vote they purport to chase. Because they don't really want to talk about such things.

They'll get by, and that's it. Just as Sainsbury didn't want to reduce their prices in the 90s, so politicians are desperately clinging on to their right to make us their bitches. We're a great big focus group, full of ideas, all with desires and dreams, but with conveners who refuse to tackle the concerns we all hold in a multitude of areas.

They don't want to talk of their true deficiencies, just the superficial ones like expenses.

And all the while they skirt the issue, while they continue to divide and conquer, we'll just wait for the next unifying light bulb to shatter so we can kick them again.

One day, the light bulb may flicker into action on their side and they will regain our respect, but there's no sign of much mental electricity to power it in this election thus far.

Best they just ignore the painful truth and carry on with their charade, then. Until such time as they recognise that fundamental change in the way government currently operates is required, there isn't much for us to do except carry on with our disgust at their arrogant practices.