Monday, August 29, 2005

BBC NEWS | England | End of the line for train smoking

One of the reasons why liberty is under such threat in Britain is that our people are now so intolerant. 90% of GNER's passengers don't smoke. Fair enough. That means 10% do. Many less sizeable minorities exert massive influence. Not smokers however.

I remember as a young man working with a chain-smoking boss. You could sit across the desk from him and barely make him out through the fug. Today's ventilation and air-conditioning systems are such that he's no longer a problem even to those afraid of "passive smoking". However - if he's still working - he's probably in a non-smoking building, loitering at intervals with the other pariahs in the rainy streets outside.

I have never smoked cigarettes. I am aware of the risks and choose not to take them. I confine myself to the occasional weekend cigar - too few of them even to concern my life-insurers. However, if others want to smoke - and are able to do so considerately - why should I get all Cromwellian about it?

Nor have I ever understood why smokers' life insurance premiums are loaded, while they never get discounts on pension plans - or their national insurance payments. By dying younger, they are subsidising non-smokers pensions. For that matter, taxes on smoking fund the NHS to such an extent that it is pretty much a "free good" to non-smokers.

I feel sorry for the smokers corralled in shocking conditions in airports and other public places. It seems unkind to me. Fresh into Heathrow off no-smoking long-haul flights, they have little choice but to cram themselves into the cattle pens provided. If "passive smoking" exists, we are making those poor guys smoke a pack at a time!

We live among people who would rather die of curable diseases than have one guinea pig suffer during medical research. Yet those same people are prepared to treat fellow-humans thus. As long as we are so intolerant of the foibles of others, we cannot really expect our government to be liberal.

BBC NEWS | England | End of the line for train smoking

Saturday, August 27, 2005

MPs 'must review shooting policy'

This should not really be news, should it? In a Parliamentary democracy, only Parliament can make new laws. If police are to be given power to shoot people dead without warning on suspicion, that needs legislation. There is no current defence to murder based on the exercise of executive power. Every policeman who acts on the "policy" is therefore guilty of murder unless he happens to have another defence (e.g. self-defence, provocation).

Not only did our Parliament not authorise this "policy", it was not even consulted.

I remain amazed that the debate is all about whether the policy is right or wrong. If it is right - in the sense that it is a necessary tactic to defend us against terrorists - then it still needs a law to authorise it. We have delegated our powers to make law to our Parliament, not to the Cabinet and still less to the Chief Constables of our police forces.

Does nobody care about the rule of law any more?

There is a fascinating article in this week's Economist comparing the reaction of modern governments to Islamic terrorism to that of early 20th Century governments to anarchist terrorism. All the same arguments were used at the time and the French government outlawed the expression of support for anarchists, just as Blair now wants to outlaw support for Islamo-fascists.

In the end the panic reactions to anarchist terrorism had no effect. It just passed as the more fiery nutters were jailed, hung or blew themselves up and it became apparent to the rest that it was getting them nowhere.

Blair and his halfwit cohorts are dignifying the bastard sons of chip shop and mosque by treating them with such seriousness. They are murderous scum, like other such. Their religious motivations are no more relevant than the voices in the head of "Son of Sam".

We should mourn the dead, enforce the laws, take due precautions and move on. A calm civilised response is admirable in direct proportion to the intensity of the provocation. If the London bombings lead to the death of "multi-culti" and the revival of national pride, we may all yet live to thank Yorkshire's Muslim morons.

BBC NEWS | UK | MPs 'must review shooting policy'

Probe sought into de Menezes leaks

Why all the concern about the leaks? No-one is denying they are true, I notice. We are to learn all the information in due course, are we not? So this is entirely an internal disciplinary matter for the IPCC.

The clue to the real concern is the Police Federation's remark that "...the leaks called into question the organisation's ability to conduct investigations in a 'professional and independent manner'..."

In short, those under investigation are seeking to challenge the legitimacy of the investigators. Evidently they don't expect to be cleared then.

The fact remains that the only correct forum for this is a criminal court. A man has been killed and if anyone but a police officer had done it, the courts would determine guilt or innocence. This whole thing is at best a charade and at worst an attempt to ensure - by concluding guilt in a public report and slapping wrists - that the matter can never be brought to trial.

the Mail online | Mail - news, sport, showbiz, health and more | Probe sought into de Menezes leaks

Friday, August 26, 2005

Expulsions illegal, UN tells Clarke

Once again our Government acts first and thinks later. Some of its deportations of non-citizens who speak out in support of terrorists may (according to the UN) be in breach of the Geneva Convention.That's embarrassing. Worse however is that the policy is a headline-grabbing substitute for real action.

We have allowed Muslim communities to exist alongside us, rather than among us. We don't have enough Muslims in our police and security services to operate in their communities and detect terrorist cells. Our education system fails to integrate them, reflecting as it does our intellectually-bankrupt and pusillanimous contention that "all views are equally valid".

Our suicide-bombers were citizens. They were educated (or not) in our schools. They grew up in our towns, where they lived in self-imposed apartheid designed by their families to preserve the values of the communities from which their parents or grandparents came.

They were brought up to despise our women as whores and all of us as "kaffirs". The massed ranks of Guardian-readers in our schools and social services led them to believe that we kaffirs are racists for not accepting their world-view. But those young men were real racists in our midst - and homicidal racists at that.

The Government has no plans to address any of these issues. It is merely indulging in gesture politics to give the impression of "firm action".

Immigration pushes England's population to new high in biggest rise since the 'baby boom' years

This article does not mention that these are net increases after hundreds of thousands of British people leave each year. Britain is undergoing a population transfusion which has implications for its future as a nation.

We have no experience of dealing with this situation. America has done an amazing job of integrating large numbers of immigrants from different cultures and assimilating them into the American way of life. We have always rather arrogantly relied on our immigrants to find our way of life attractive. Implicit in much of the press coverage about immigration to Britain is a ludicrous assumption of superiority. We have a vision of people clinging onto undercarriages and sneaking through the Channel Tunnel from a desperate desire to reach broad sunlit uplands.

The sad fact is that Britain is simply a soft option; immigrants can live here without being badgered to buy into our way of life. They can get leaflets in their own languages explaining how to claim welfare benefits. They can live as if at home, without the pressure they would have in France or Germany to become French or German. Our law enforcement is sloppy and inefficient. An illegal immigrant has a very good chance of never being deported. These are the real attractions.

Arrogantly we have never reached out to our immigrants through education. Our ruling Left would now see any attempt to do so as racism. Our cynicism about our own values and culture has probably put many immigrants off. If we don't believe in our way of life, why should they?

Imagine beginning a school day in Britain in American style with an oath of allegiance to the flag; imagine a Union Jack in the corner of the classroom; it's laughably, unthinkably "uncool". Unfortunately, that attitude of value-free cool detachment is costing us. Ironically, our emigrants are often the people who love our country best. They go because they can't stand what's happening to it. Our immigrants don't love it at all - and will never learn to do so unless we recover our self-belief.

Telegraph | News | Immigration pushes England's population to new high in biggest rise since the 'baby boom' years

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Deportation warning angers Clarke

Charles Clarke says that the UN worries too much about the human rights of terrorists and not enough about their victims. But if the men he wants to deport are terrorists, why is he sending them out into the wider world to do more harm? If they are terrorists they should be prosecuted, convicted and put out of circulation. Surely he owes that to their victims, past and future?

Our government shows less respect for the law with every day that passes. This latest initiative is pure PR - designed for the readers of the "Daily Mail" and "The Sun". Clarke knows that if the Opposition challenges what he is doing, it will be seen as "soft" on terrorism. In degrading its education system, Britain did more than make itself uncompetitive in the world of commerce. It now has a population as ignorant of the principles of a free society as the brainwashed peasants of a totalitarian state. Our democracy is turning into a thuggery contest every bit as ugly as the scenes on our city streets every Saturday night.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Tim Worstall: No, I Won't Grow Up.

Hear, hear Tim.

Tim Worstall: No, I Won%u2019t Grow Up.

Soviet bloc workers flocking to Britain

Poles haven't been called "Soviet bloc workers" for some time. It's an interesting use of loaded language. The fact is that Britain - especially London - would not function without these educated, hard-working migrants. I lived in Poland for 11 years and I can tell you that they are not coming to Britain for a superior lifestyle. They are coming to work - and Britain needs them - at least for so long as so many native-born Brits live in no-work, benefits-driven ghettos. We should be grateful to the Germans for temporarily restricting them. Germany's a lot more convenient and culturally more comfortable to the average Pole than the uncultured, coarse place that is modern Britain.

Telegraph | News | Soviet bloc workers flocking to Britain

Monday, August 22, 2005

Sir Ian Blair unaware of Menezes's innocence for 24 hours

This is just ridiculous. The Telegraph makes it perfectly clear that the stories about de Menezes vaulting the ticket barrier, wearing bulky clothing and acting suspiciously were given to the press by the Metropolitan Police, albeit "off the record" so individual sources cannot be named. Sir Ian Blair is accountable for the conduct of the officers who told those lies. Even if we believe (and it is damned hard to do so) that he did not authorise or initiate those briefings, the fact remains that he is responsible. He must resign.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Met head defends Menezes handling

How can Sir Ian Blair's claim possibly be true? The Met officers on the scene knew they had not killed a suicide bomber the moment they searched his body after killing him. Or did they assume he was "off duty"? No doubt seven or eight bullets to the head made enough of a mess that they could not identify the face. But the suspect with whom they had confused Jean Charles de Menezes was of Ethiopian origin - very very black. Have we finally achieved the "colour-blind" police force we have aspired to for so long then?

Unless the Metropolitan Police are incompetent to a degree previously unimaginable, the officers involved knew they "had a problem" within minutes. Sir Ian's only viable defence is that they kept it from him. The trouble is that he is accountable not just for his own behaviour, but theirs.

The Home Secretary's support for Sir Ian was reported to be strong, but the words used were very carefully chosen. Anyone who has followed the conduct of New Labour in Government can read between the lines. Everything Blair and his minions do makes perfect sense only if interpreted from the point of view of "news management". Charles Clarke must, from that point of view, be seen to be the sort of boss who stands behind his team. Once the enquiry throws up more evidence of Sir Ian's dishonesty/incompetence, Clarke will "regretfully" throw him to the wolves.

Everyone concerned knows where this is going, but the news must be managed so that public opinion does not turn dangerously against our rulers. It may even be that Sir Ian is being encouraged not to resign so that New Labour can win PR brownie points for firing him in due course.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Brazil investigates

On the one hand I am embarrassed for Britain that our police killed an innocent Brazilian. I feel we owe Brazil an apology. On the other hand, I am glad that - if such a thing had to happen - it should be to a citizen of a foreign government. Not because I dislike foreigners, but because a foreign government can be relied upon to make a fuss.

If a British citizen had been shot that day, would the death of an innocent man be properly investigated? Our rulers are past-masters of the rigged public enquiry. It is remarkable that the current "independent" enquiry will take 3-6 months and that our leaders will refuse to discuss it until the report is published. They can count on something happening in such a period to distract attention. They also have all the apparatus of State patronage available to help persuade those conducting the enquiry to " a Hutton..."

I am prepared to bet that the secretary who leaked documents to ITN will suffer more severe consequences than the officer who killed Jean Charles de Menezes, or the people in authority who authorised the illegal policy of "shoot to kill". My best hope of being proved wrong is the Brazilian government. More power to its elbow.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

We cannot take them at their word

Anyone with experience of criminal justice could have told Mr Hattenstone this. In fact anyone with the merest grain of common sense could have done so. The police are not automatically wicked; but neither do ordinary humans shed weaknesses when they don a uniform. Anyone who has heard accounts of the same events by different witnesses - including police witnesses - knows that the human memory can shape itself to desired ends. Paul Simon had it right when he wrote in "The Boxer" that "...a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest..." He could have added "...and remembers what he wants to remember..."

In any uniformed force fellow-officers are likely to feel "it could have been me". Their natural sympathy for a comrade in trouble leads them to try to cover up the error or at least present it in the most favourable light. This may be understandable, but it is inexcusable. If a member of the public they are supposed to protect dies or is injured by police error, the least we can expect is an honest account.

We don't yet know why Jean Charles de Menezes died. As the story develops it is increasingly hard to imagine what was going through the shooter's mind as he killed a young man who was physically restrained, carrying no bags and wearing too little to conceal a bomb. Whatever his orders, it is hard to conceive the gunman had no doubts.

Police camaraderie seems to have broken down. The prospect of mandatory life sentences for murder is focussing minds wonderfully. The immediate commander is briefing through "police sources" that she gave an order to "take him alive" - albeit an order received (or perhaps given) "five seconds" too late. An intelligence officer outside de Menezes' apartment building claims to have been conveniently "relieving himself" at the crucial moment. Of responsibility, perhaps? The officer holding de Menezes as he was killed has made it clear in the leaked witness statement that he was not expecting the shots. He thought he had made an arrest until his colleagues turned it into an execution.

I would not willingly change places this morning with the officer who fired the lethal shots. Not only does he have his conscience to live with, but the knowledge that his colleagues are preparing to give evidence against him. Their desire to distance themselves from this disgraceful episode is very human, very understandable. I cannot understand, however, how the two Blairs responsible for the "shoot first, question later" policy can go complacently about their business. Tony and Ian Blair did not pull the trigger but by authorising this wicked policy, they ordered the "hit". They should not only resign, but should now stand trial for murder alongside the shooter and his commander.

Guardian Unlimited Politics | Comment | Simon Hattenstone: We cannot take them at their word

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

ITN - Mistakes led to tube shooting

This report suggests that the Metropolitan Police have systematically lied to us. Every element of the reportedly "suspicious" behaviour of Mr de Menezes appears to have been fabricated.

He was not wearing bulky clothes. He was not carrying a bag. He did not ignore a warning (because none was given). He did not vault the ticket barrier. In fact, he paused to pick up a newspaper. He did not run away; he was shot point blank by plain-clothes officers.

None of those alleged behaviours would, in my opinion, have justified the killing. Nothing on earth can justify that all the allegations were lies. Nor can anything justify the smear campaign after the event, when all concerned must have known they were blackening the name of an innocent man.

What does it take in Blair's Britain for a responsible public official to resign? Surely Commissioner Ian Blair must go? Immediately after the incident he stated publicly that de Menezes was challenged and refused to obey police instructions. He must have known that was a lie.

Surely the killers must be brought to trial so that justice may be done? If the officers who fired the shots acted in good faith, they may well be found not guilty. Those who gave the orders - and subsequently told the lies -may not.

Any one of us could have died that day. Nothing we could have done would have saved us. Jean Charles de Menezes had no chance. That is a national disgrace.

ITN - Mistakes led to tube shooting

Friday, August 12, 2005

Judges face human rights shake-up

I wish people in Britain would pause for a second and listen to the tone of the public debate on counter-terrorism issues. We should ask ourselves what kind of a government denounces judges for giving more weight to "human rights" than to "state security". Judges are supposed to be the independent guardians of individual rights. Only in totalitarian regimes are they part of the security apparatus.

We should ask ourselves why, if the people to be deported are terrorist leaders, our government wants to send them away. Why don't they charge them with their crimes and put them out of circulation? Could it be perhaps that the government does not believe its own story? That it is simply manufacturing "tough action" headlines?

One of the men is wanted by the US Government on terrorism charges. Why don't we hand him over to our ally to face trial? Oh yes, because the USA might execute him if convicted and "we" officially don't approve (although polls show the same level of popular support for the death penalty in the UK as in the USA). Officially, "we" prefer to send him, on the basis of shaky assurances from dubious governments, to repression and possible torture.

If we can't convict a man of a crime, we should stop accusing him. All this "tough" activity is simply playing politics with people's lives for the benefit of tabloid editors. We may not like the individuals concerned or approve of their views, but we should all be conscious that what can be done to them today could be done to us tomorrow. The government is just making a panicked population feel that it is "doing something". Assembling evidence and conducting a prosecution is much more like hard work than tearing alleged radicals from their homes and sending them back to the countries they fled from.

I have no problem with toughening entry restrictions and turning away "undesirables" on the slightest of suspicions. No non-EU citizen has a right to come to Britain. Nor do I have a problem with deporting those who enter illegally, or those who - having entered legally, but not yet become citizens - are convicted of crimes. However, deporting people who live legally in Britain to play on public fears and please tabloid editors is a national disgrace. So is hectoring judges not to interfere with such shoddy games, whether that hectoring is done by the government or the leader of the Opposition.

BBC NEWS | UK | UK Politics | Judges face human rights shake-up

Health divide widens between rich and poor

Billions of pounds have been thrown at the NHS and yet the poor who most depend on it can expect almost twice as many of their babies to die as those of the better-off.

That the second largest organisation on Earth (after the Chinese People's Liberation Army) should be the state healthcare system of a little island off Northern Europe is absurd. That such a bloated organisation should be an inefficient producer-driven cooperative is no surprise. Like so much of the British public sector it is a "voter farm" for employees whose life outside the real economy depends on keeping the Left in power.

There are those Marxists who say, despite having experimented on more than half of humanity during the 20th Century, that "real Marxism" has not yet been tried. Similarly, the devotees of the NHS continue to argue that it just needs more money. It does not. It needs to be closed. It would disgrace a nation with a GDP less than its budget. It is well past time for Britain to explore other healthcare options.

Telegraph | News | Health divide widens between rich and poor

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

24-hour drinking lunacy, say judges

Assume for a second that our judges are right. If removing state controls on serving alcohol will indeed lead certain people to be more violent, does that excuse the behaviour of those people? Does that anticipated behaviour excuse restricting the freedoms of those of us (the majority) who were not violent under the old regime and will not be violent under the new?

Are the British so uniquely vicious that unrestricted drinking will have a worse effect on them than on the French, Belgians or Germans? Do we now accept, at last, the old French thesis that we are barbarians; not civilised at all?

What rot. This is nothing more nor less than puritanism. To blame "...offences of rape, grievous bodily harm and worse..." on alcohol is to excuse the rapists and thugs. Such shoddy thinking is the cause of our problems, not alcohol.

Telegraph | News | 24-hour drinking lunacy, say judges

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Secret terror courts considered

The attempted spin here is that the government is proceeding cautiously - countering well-founded accusations of rushing out "half-baked" ideas on new laws against terrorism. In truth it is more likely that this is a "trial balloon" to test public reaction.

The idea of secret courts where the defendant is not entitled to know the charge against him OUGHT to provoke an extremely strong reaction. The idea is positively Soviet.

The notion that, in order for courts to have access to wiretap evidence, the hearings must be conducted in secret on such terms is bizarre. Government wiretap evidence is used all over the world and the "agents" who set up and monitor the equipment either give evidence openly or have their identities protected. The hearing itself can still be open on the principle that "justice must be seen to be done".

The government agent could give evidence from behind a screen or via a video or audio link. The voice could be electronically modified. A pseudonym could be used. As long as the judge was satisfied as to the identity of the witness, such measures could be justified.

Why is Britain so paranoid about "protecting" its secret agents? One has to suspect that something else is being concealed here. Perhaps the extent of the "secret state" is much greater than any of us thought?

BBC NEWS | UK | UK Politics | Secret terror courts considered

Sunday, August 07, 2005

We're changing the rules, Blair tells hate preachers

This is either madness or charlatanry. If "preaching hate" is to be a crime then Blair should begin by locking up 90% of the Labour Party who have been preaching hatred of "class enemies" since the Party was founded. Putting your "tanks on Oxford's lawns" to force the University to discriminate against the privately-educated is preaching hatred - and the Government has been doing that. Banning sports which have been part of the fabric of English society for centuries on the grounds that they are pursued by "toffs" is preaching hatred too.

inciting violence and/or racial hatred is already criminal. That's quite stupid enough. Free men have no excuse for doing wrong just because some idiot "incited" them to do so. Adding MORE nebulous "thought crimes" and "speech crimes" to the statute book will do no good. Acting on mad ideas should be criminal; having or expressing mad ideas should not.

If Blair knows this (and hard though it is for a professional colleague to believe sometimes he IS a trained lawyer), then it is not madness but charlatanry. If adequate remedies are on the statute book, then he is just proposing new laws for political effect. That's wicked.

Worst of all is that, once again, the leading candidate to succeed Michael Howard is forming a front of national unity with Blair. Our freedoms ebb daily. A line must be drawn somewhere. By all means exclude or deport undesirable aliens. All civilised countries do that. But if, as reported, the Government plans to prove its anti-terrorist credentials by deporting people to countries where they may face torture, that is just disgraceful

the Mail online | Mail - news, sport, showbiz, health and more | We're changing the rules, Blair tells hate preachers

Friday, August 05, 2005

BBC NEWS | UK | NYPD clarifies bomb disclosures

Why does the NYPD even need to defend itself against the charge of informing citizens of the facts? Our own police are now so secretive that we can only expect to learn of their thoughts, plans and policies from foreign sources. Had they wrongfully killed a British citizen rather than a Brazilian, I doubt we would have learned the details of their "shoot first, ask questions later" policy for example.

That the explosives used on July 7th were "home made" rather than "weapons grade" is news to me too. Our government seems determined to keep us as frightened as possible so as to maximise its opportunities to oppress us. It's sad that mad amateurs could do such damage with home made materials, but it's a lot less scary than believing that they were supplied with military materials by Al-Qaida.

BBC NEWS | UK | NYPD clarifies bomb disclosures

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Joy of Curmudgeonry

I am not much given to heroes. Nothing demeans a man more, nor better exposes his natural defects, than to make an hero of him. Hero-worship has done much to expose the truly great to criticism none of the critics could escape themselves if great enough to be worthy of study. It is too easy to lose sight of greatness as admirers waste their energies on defending charges which amount to no more than "he is human".

I am in danger of acquiring a new hero however. In the sidebar you will find a link to a magnificent blog I have just discovered called "The Joy of Curmudgeonry". The author specialises in debunking intellectual charlatanry. He or she is plainly intelligent, well-educated, insightful and far from being (as I sometimes fear I may be) a curmudgeon.

I have not laughed so much or so well in a while. Give it a try.

The Joy of Curmudgeonry

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Hate crimes soar after bombings

This headline sounds bad but the article says "most were verbal abuse and minor assaults". So bad names and threats of violence then (if actual violence they would have been batteries not assaults).

That is not to be praised but it's rather provocative to call it "hate crime". "Soar" is pretty loaded language too for an organisation which thinks it's rude to call the London bombers "terrorists".

After 9/11 some panicky passengers on US internal flights refused to sit down and buckle up until Muslim passengers were removed. Was that hate crime? Again, it wasn't nice but it was what Bentham called a case "unmeet for punishment".

it is ludicrous to think that the government can protect you from being called nasty names or having a fist waved in your face. Surely, it has happened to all of us? Various Scots have tried to use "English bastard" as a term of abuse over the years. I am inclined to regard it as a compliment. Certainly that attitude irritates one's assailant most satisfactorily. I was more hurt to be called a "Welsh yuppie" by a sour old fellow-countrywomen. I had just been nice to her, but I was too articulate and insufficiently scruffy to be Welsh, apparently. I think that insulted her kind of Welshman rather more than it insulted me.

I have been called a "fat bastard" on occasion. I find that less complimentary, but feel it reflects worse on the speaker than me. I try to see it as nature's way of reminding me to watch my carbs. I have certainly never felt the need to call a policeman and would expect to be considered rather a wuss if I did.

Is "Paki bastard" or "Muslim bastard" really any worse? Only if you think Pakistani origin or the Muslim faith somehow shameful. I guess it might reasonably irritate a Hindu, but even that faux pas scarcely seems to justify the intervention of the state.

Certainly such behaviour is not polite, but is it surprising that feelings run high and our less intelligent brethren of all races are tending to lose their sang-froid? All on the receiving end of "verbal abuse and minor assaults" might like to begin assimilating to English culture by learning the expression "...sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me..." Given how overstretched the police claim to be at present, they might do well to focus on other issues than soothing the recipients of school yard insults.

BBC NEWS | England | London | Hate crimes soar after bombings

Teenage drinking 'out of control'

I worry about our politicians. Consider this story; hospital admissions of drunk teenagers are rising - clearly a bad thing. Britain's teenagers drink more than any in Europe - also a bad thing.

Britain's drinking laws are also the strictest in Europe; the hours during which alcohol can be sold have been tightly controlled since the 1914-18 war. The present sad situation has therefore arisen under - perhaps even because of - conditions of tight control. The "binge" approach to drinking certainly contrasts badly with the more leisurely and sophisticated European approach to drink.

Intensively alcoholised youths spilling out onto our city streets at the same time do not contribute much to national serenity either. If their departures were staggered, perhaps they would do less staggering themselves?

The government is proposing a rare liberal measure here. If the objective of legal restrictions was to promote safe drinking, they plainly have not worked. So why not remove them?

Yet Conservative leader-in-waiting David Davies criticises the government for pressing ahead with "even longer drinking hours". Much as his party criticises the "Nanny State", he clearly believes that "Nanny knows best" on this subject.

What exactly IS the point of the Conservative Party now? Just for once, the government proposes to treat us like grown-ups, and the Tories oppose it.

Telegraph | News | Teenage drinking 'out of control'

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

BBC NEWS | Technology | One blog created 'every second'

I have been writing this blog more or less every day since the passage of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, last March. Sometimes it's hard to maintain motivation. I have a political message, and I am well aware that I am reaching few readers - most of whom already share the same point of view. I sometimes long for an abusive comment, just to prove that a least some opponents are being exposed to the libertarian view!! This fact is that this kind of blogging is often just "preaching to the converted".

Maybe we few lost voices in the political wilderness can at least give each other comfort and support? Perhaps, in our eccentric way, we are keeping alive the flame of liberty? Maybe we cannot even do that, but something just tells me it's wrong to say silent as the Anglosphere drifts towards tyranny.

The news that one new blog is being set up every second is consoling in one way; if I am eccentric, I am certainly not alone! It may not be such good news for those of us trying to use the medium for political goals, however. Online diaries, personal chat boards etc. can be entertaining, but I wonder how many people will plough through such content in search of political comment?

BBC NEWS | Technology | One blog created 'every second'

Minister to meet Muslim leaders

I do not understand how Minister Blears is able to deal with these so-called "leaders". Who selected them? What right do they have to speak for British Muslims? Do British Muslims have a more valid view on the issue of terrorism than the rest of us? If so, why?

The government is in danger of exacerbating the problem. Day after day one unelected group after another is seen to be earnestly consulted as to its views, based on the violent actions of a minority in the same "community". While these unelected "community leaders" are treated with utmost respect, the rest of us are admonished against our supposed predisposition to "islamophobia". Neither stance makes sense.

The government is giving several dangerous messages at present. I wish I could say they were conflicting. It has just surrendered to the IRA in Northern Ireland, releasing killers on to the streets to wear their "old comrades" blazers with pride. This was achieved after long negotiations with "community leaders" connected, so we are told, only by ethnicity and faith.

Several Muslims have recently committed murder and treason and the goverment has already invited "community leaders" for discussions of grievances and to "hear" the "genuine anger" of their young people.

Bomb the Tube; your brothers in faith and ethnicity meet a Minister. "Knee-cap" your enemies; your brothers in faith and ethnicity become Ministers.

Please don't get me wrong. I am not advocating political violence. But our government seems to be.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Minister to meet Muslim leaders