Quote of the Moment
"All really great things happen in slow and inconspicuous ways." Leo Tolstoy

Monday, 23 June 2008

The most unlikely civil liberties defender of all!

Based around the recent events of David Davis surrendering his position of MP causing a by-election in his constituency. All because the bill to extend pre-charge detention to the ridiculous and horrendous length of 42 days, here is a punk band who have written a (bad-ish) song on the matter.



Not the best ever, I grant you. But I'm very chuffed that someone has actually done this.


Rock on!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

The West Lothian Question...?

The 'West Lothian Question' is a great example within English (note not British) politics elephant in the room where the Scottish politicians generally don't care and the English don't know what to do; there is simply no 'right' answer without dramatic institutional and constitutional change.

It is the situation, as we have now, of a scots parliament to which English (or indeed Welsh or Northern Irish) MPs cannot vote in along side a British parliament which Scots (et. al.) can vote in on every topic including only English only legislation.

Ian Dale has word of a leaked conservative proposal to the problem by cross-hatching layers of discussion and decision making within Westminster between English only involvement and Total Involvement. In other words, an appalling mess.

"If this is true, it is simply appalling. The phrases 'half baked' and 'dog's breakfast' come to mind. This is not a long term solution to something which even Scottish politicians recognise is a problem and it's not even a half way house. It reeks of a measure designed to placate rather than solve. And as usual with these things it won't even do that."

One of these days I must have a look through my old politic degree essays, as I have one on this topic. That being said the situation is simple. The solution is simple. The politics involved are disastrously complicated, obfuscated and complex.

And this is the industry (ha!) I am looking to join. Fun times.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Long live the Queen... Until The Lisbon Treaty

I'm not going to look into this in detail... But here is a Libertarian Party blog which comments on the prospect of us losing our monarch with the Lisbon Treaty.

Interesting, if only it is a hypothetical result of that most disagreeable advancement of Europe.

Climate Change

I read the Devil's Kitchen a lot. And as some of you reading this may realise, his understanding of Climate Change is that, a) it is probably not happening, and b) if indeed it is happening it is certainly not man made, or indeed effected by man.

Much of the same comments are made in his frisk of the usual suspects who support the idea of climate change. In doing so he makes this point.

"Indeed and, in Master Hundal's World of the Ad Hominem, the environment is far more important than the high food prices that are causing riots and deaths around the globe: full ahead with biofuels, Jeeves old chap, and bugger the poor and the starving, what what!"

Ok, not the best. But it is a method into my own understanding of the issue.

I think the political sphere is blind to the realities of the world, and indeed there is an argument which says that it has to be, as the arguments for and against Man-made climate change are far from resolved. That being said, the climate matters, our environment matters and we matter.

Thus what are we to do in a situation where there could possibly be a world destroying force of our own unleashing, but to resolve it would be to the detriment of society and kill hundreds of people. Climate change in this sense, if understood as a possibility, can also be understood as a risky hunch. A risky hunch which at the moment is interestingly high on the political arena's list of priorities.

The climate matters, is what I said above. And that is the case, but it is also the case that we (the people of the world) matter, and that our direct environment matters. Climate change is doing the horrendous thing, not of warming the world through greenhouse gasses, but of redirecting the attention of policy makers away from the things which are important to the lives of the individuals they profess to serve.

Climate change is a logo. And one which has been expertly crafted by [insert personal theory of world/state/local ills of choice] into a catchall problem and immediate solution all in one. The equation goes, "Climate change = human activity + carbon dioxide emissions", thus the solution is to drop the emissions. This does nothing to help us understand our world, or to solve the problems it faces.

Simply put my understanding of climate change is that it should be de-politicised again.  And we should concentrate on preserving our environment in the immediacy, supporting anti-littering (though understanding and respect instead of fines and the nannying state) for example. And we should be able to take a reflective look at the society with which we live in and cure its ailments instead of this constant need to find something external with which to fix.

All that is found within climate change is a monster. A monster which may or may not be fictional, but the possibility of it being real is too great to allow for any dissent or complicating of the matter through real hard evidence. The monster must be defended against at all costs. And those costs are grubby streets, a dilapidated countryside, social disintegration, the failure of multi-culturalism, the stability of our economy; the list could go on and on but thats just in Britain!

Monday, 9 June 2008

Video on John McCain

Found here.

At one point he says, in relation to the War in Iraq (fantasy apparently, hence the capitalisation) that he disagrees with the majority of the American people. Make of that what you will. However, bare in mind that this is put out as an attack on McCain and that it is released by Ron Paul's camp.

I'm not going to lie to you...

I didn't read the whole of this speech by David Cameron... Not even half of it. But still, I am going to make a slight comment on this quote...

"Now I know there are some who think politics should stay out of issues like relationships, and stick to apparently more gritty topics like schools, the NHS and budget deficits. I just think that's incredibly superficial and short-sighted. Our efforts to get schools right are undermined if families are going wrong. We can ease the burden on the NHS if we act on the evidence that people in strong and happy relationships are healthier. And helping people maintain strong relationships is not some fluffy alternative to reducing budget deficits - it is the way to reduce budget deficits, by reducing the demands on the state caused by family breakdown."

Honestly, this seems a little idea. Either that, or a chicken-or-the-egg scenario.  Ideal in that he is saying that if families work then the NHS or Schools will work, and that failures can be blamed on the parents... Or the Children who later look at the parents (I assume). IF not this then its a chicken/egg situation of the schools wont work because of the parents who are earlier failed by failing schools.

Looking at the budget and family breakdown. I can only say that the best thing for government to do is to reduce itself. Every aspect of Government interaction with those on lower incomes is draining of the spirit and the goodness of the British people. What's the point in talking about relationship advice and development if the self-respect given to working for your living is lost in the midst of the reality that you are being stupid to earn your crust through anything other than the doll (Screw the lie that is jobseeker's allowance).

This was only meant to be a flippant comment, and I will leave it as such before I go into a rant. But in reality I can't see anything within the words of Cameron above even if the essence seems positive. There does need to be more emphasis on grownup positive relationships, be that between a man and a man, a woman and a woman, a son and his father or mother and the state. Respect is what has been lost and it is government's responsibility to institutionalise again a system which holds that value among others to develop society... Maybe if I read the speech in its entirety I would see more of this.. But honesty, if I need to get through so much waffle to get to the crux then... I don't know. It is something hidden that should be shouted to the rooftops.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Cameron Direct

Within the constituency of Harlow it seems David Cameron has jumped off the fence on the Lisbon treaty/constitution and has said, directly to a question, that the conservatives would give the country what it wants in the form of a referendum.

Nice one!

I hope it is true.

Watch the vid, its actually quite good.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Idea on prison sentencing.

From ePolitix's news feed, which I am finding remarkably clear and to the point and an ample resource for posts on this blog. I found a report on the comments made by the Justice minister David Hanson [uhmm-bop, anyone? ok, cheap shot. Sorry]

"Tough community sentences can be more effective in reducing crime than a short spell in prison..."

The concept goes that because all of our prisons are full to bursting like some deranged criminalised 'Where's Wally?' Or indeed, 'Where's the prison guard?' The government is panicking and beginning (or continuing) to try and convince everyone that actually, contrary to history's use of prisons for things such a fraud etc. Prison usage should only be for the most serious and violent crimes. In reality, all that needs to happen, is for the 'lesser' prisoners - even though they have committed a crime - do do a bit of unpaid(?) labour for a bit and be told how bad they are.

The natural flaw in the plan, if you can call it that, from my eyes is the environment. A classically supposed benefit for prisons is the fact that by being in prison for a stint you escape the environment to which resulted in your criminality. I can't see this happening with this initiative. And even though prisons themselves are a bit of a den of evil at the moment, at least they are a change and give the individual another look at life.

For the suggested idea to work, that is community service as opposed to prison sentences, the criminal should be forced to move to another area of the country. As long as the person is not perceived to be violent would it not be better to remove them from their friends, deny the chance to use the Internet or a mobile phone (at least for the short term) and have specific jobs set up in partnership with businesses (organised by the government) which begins a rehabilitation process.

All this would cost money.

The government has no money.

So instead what we have here is a failure of a plan. The worst of all situations. The prisons are failing as they are full. The release of prisoners into community service is simply going to do nothing to rehabilitate or indeed dissuade the majority of criminals from reaffending.

Community care, or indeed care in the community, is a golden tightrope. Both expensive and falls on its face so very easily. The problem is now, that it has become the normal solution to any appropriate problem and even though it has the chance to do some good institutionalisation tends towards being the cheaper and utilitarian best for the people involved.

Post office closures

I simply do not understand this government.

Why, oh why, close those things which actually benefit individuals and communities and society in general?! There are probably figures around, but I honestly don't really care about the cost (it wouldn't be anywhere near the cost of the Iraq war for instance) we should be building more post offices in communities which are lacking them.

In my research for some political experience I am glad to see that my local (Lancaster & Wyre) MP Ben Wallace strongly campaigns against the closure and has indeed managed to do the unthinkable - re-open post offices after closure.

But instead making this country 'better' in terms of the real experience of life of its peoples, we have this...

As many as 4,000 further post office branch closures could be set to take place, a committee of MPs has warned.

And not only this, but the government is actually going to lie to you.

Such a move would reduce the network to around 7,500 branches, compared with the 14,000 presently open, despite the government aiming to safeguard 11,500 branches from now until 2011.

What do you think will happen? Ask any MP and member of the labour party about your worries that the post office is going to close all the offices, and they will deny it - I mean, they have 'safeguarded' the branches. They will deny it right up until the point you loose the last focus of the community left in your village.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Two simple points.

1) 2/5ths of the wages of an average earner in the UK is taken by direct tax.
2) It takes 155 days of work to pay this off.

Taken from Guido via the Adam Smith Institute these points seemed shocking (in a bleary post-4am drinking + geek session on WoW... Don't judge!) Today is Tax Freedom Day(!), a day to instead of celebrating we should lament and feel a well of anger rise up for it is our government which squanders all of that money in useless and disastrous ways; imagine how many days would have been wiped off this total if, for example, we didn't go to war in Iraq?

And as Guido points out, in many ways we are much much worse off than the Surfs in feudal times who had to work no more than 40 days for their lord and master... And they say we are free.