Monday, December 23, 2013

On the food bank hysteria...

Media Personage: "Mr Average, you use a food bank. Correct?"

Mr Average: "That's right. I mean, why pay for food when you can get it for free?"

MP: "But why have you started to use one now? Is it because the evil Coalition have been deliberately starving you on ideological grounds?"

MrA: "Not really. It's just that I didn't realise that there were people giving away free food until I read about them in the paper on my way to work."

MP: "And there you have it: more and more people are using food banks because the evil Coalition—cruelly limiting a household's benefits to an equivalent pre-tax income of a mere £34,000—are starving them utterly to death. On purpose. Back to you in the studio, Tom."

Tom: "Er…"

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Is this man a murderer?

If this Mail article is correct, Andy "spiv" Burnham—the current shadow health secretary—is at least partially responsible for the deaths of over 50,000 people.
Up to 50,000 ‘excess’ deaths were recorded at hospitals during the last Labour government.

As ministers prepare to respond today to the report into the Mid Staffordshire scandal, figures suggest the number of fatalities was ‘abnormally high’ at 15 further health trusts.

The research – by Sir Brian Jarman of Imperial College, London – covers 2001 to 2010.

Half of the hospital trusts he identifies were finally put into special measures this year – prompting accusations that neglect was not tackled despite a series of investigations.

Professor Jarman said: ‘I warned the Department of Health on multiple occasions about high hospital adjusted death rates; and witnesses have testified under oath there was huge government pressure, because the government hated the idea that a regulator would criticise it.

‘In fact, I was so concerned that I wrote to [Labour health secretary] Andy Burnham personally in March 2010 warning him about high death rates at five of the 11 hospitals now in special measures."

He won't be indicted for murder.

He won't even lose his job.

How do you feel about that…?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

And people deride Atlas Shrugged...

… as an over-wrought fantasy—it's obviously not.
Five managers of electronic retailers including Daka are being threatened with prosecution for unjustifiable price hikes, the Venezuela government said. More stores may be at risk, as well. Government inspectors were dispatched to check prices at an array of other businesses.

"This is for the good of the nation," Maduro said, referring to the military's occupation of Daka. "Leave nothing on the shelves, nothing in the warehouses … Let nothing remain in stock!"

Maduro said his seizures are the "tip of the iceberg" and that other stores would be next if they did not comply with his orders. Maduro is expected to win decree powers in Congress in the coming days that he says will be used to take over more businesses.

Is there no end to the stupidity and evil of socialists…?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ed Miliband is a fucking clown

Ed Miliband is a fucking clown—and his policies are almost as terrifying.

As my few remaining readers will know, your humble Devil has been steering clear of politics. However, it would be remiss of me not to comment on the idiocies being pushed by the idiot leader of Red Labour.

One would have thought that after bankrupting the bloody country—again—the Labour Party might have learned some fucking humility. Apparently not.

Ed Miliband—a man so creepy in person that you feel like scrubbing yourself with a wire brush in a shower for three hours after meeting him—is determined to bring socialism back to the country.

Because that's always worked so well, eh?

A small sample of his rampant stupidity can be found in this Telegraph article (which focuses on Grayling's response).
The Labour leader used a question-and-answer session in Brighton to outline a series of measures which the Tories say shows the party is shifting to the Left and can only be funded by higher taxes.

We are pretty much all done as far as raising taxes is concerned: it will be very difficult to get any more out of the population of this country, frankly.
Mr Miliband spoke of his commitment to drop the spare room subsidy — which Labour calls “the bedroom tax” —

Which is odd, really, because they didn't call it that when they removed the subsidy for people with spare rooms in private rental accommodation.
Another fact that Labour are keeping quiet about is that they introduced a similar restriction on Housing Benefit for tenants of private landlords (they called it Local Housing Allowance) in 2008 but then it was acceptable to for the government to “to provide an incentive for those on Housing Benefit to find cheaper accommodation.” Does Labour think that those lucky enough to be in social housing shouldn’t have the same incentives?

Of course, we expect Labour to be screaming hypocrites—but this reaches new levels.
— as well as capping bonuses for bankers and stopping the building of free schools.

Because Free Schools have been so hugely unpopular with the people of this country, eh? This is Labour pandering to their union paymasters again—the teaching unions loathe free schools because it weakens the power of the union thugs.

And, of course, Free Schools actually teach children some knowledge—something that the unionised teachers of this country can't stand. At least, we must assume that they can't stand it because they have utterly failed to provide an adequate schooling for the last forty years.

Mr Miliband also wishes to destroy the concept of the Common Law—most especially the concept that everyone is equal under it.
He also outlined measures which included the possibility of separate sectors, such as finance, IT or construction, being made to pay their own, higher, minimum wages.

Most of those sectors actually do pay higher minimum wages because you cannot get someone to work in those sectors for less than about double the minimum wage.

Regardless, the principal of singling out certain industries for special treatment will inevitably lead to corruption. For fuck's sake, Miliband, the actions of the government in Atlas Shrugged are supposed to be a warning—not a blueprint for your policies![1]

But this utter clown cannot even understand what he's advocating.
Asked when he would “bring back socialism”, he replied: “That’s what we are doing.

Oh, goody-goody gum-drops! Socialism has been such a brilliant success all over the world, I cannot imagine why you wouldn't want to bring it back, eh?
It is about fighting the battle for economic equality...

Economic equality? How the hell does that square with you giving some industries an economic advantage over others, as with your insane minimum wage proposals? Eh?
... for social equality and for gender equality too. That is a battle that is not yet won in our country.”

Oh, FFS.
In another policy announcement, Mr Miliband said that large firms would have to train a British apprentice for every worker that they bring from overseas. He said that the policy would create 125,000 new apprentices in five years.

The mind boggles, it really does. Seriously, is this Miliband's idea of how you grow an economy—or, in fact, is he trying to legislate us all back to the 70s?

Oh, wait, I forgot: Miliband wouldn't know how to grow an economy or a business—because he is simply a pig-ignorant, over-privileged, champagne-socialist, hypocritical, Communist policy-wonk who has done nothing but suckle at the state teat for his entire life. This man has no idea about the real world, about building a business, about hardship, or about anything really.

Ed Miliband is a fucking clown.

Some years ago, we sent hundreds of copies of 1984 to MPs. How about we start a new meme, and see if we can get hundreds of pairs of fucking clown shoes delivered to Miliband's door...

And deliver the red nose personally. With my fist.

[1] It's worth pointing out that Ayn Rand was escaping from the horrors of Communist Russia at about the same time as Ed Miliband's father—along with most of the other progenitors of the bien pensant Islington set of today—was writing about how utterly wonderful it all was.

These evil people were still propping up the Communist regime in Russia in the eighties. After the wall came down—and the true horrors were finally revealed, irrefutably—many of these useful idiots recanted, often pleading ignorance.

Ignorance? Ha! Hergé depicted prison camps and Potemkin Villages in Tintin in the Land of the Soviets—which was published in 1930.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

As you sow...

Whilst I find this kind of incident deeply depressing...
Stopped by police and branded a paedophile... for hiking with my son: WILL SELF reveals moment an innocent ramble became a nightmarish tale of modern Britain
... one can only point out that Will Self is part of the British media who have encouraged this sort of suspicion, lauded governments who have embraced it, and praised the fake charities who have fanned the flames.

But far, far worse are the stupid, vacuous, frightened fools who continue to elect the bastards who make all of this possible. And, to paraphrase Obi Wan Kenobi, "who is worse? The cunt, or the cunt who elects him?"

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Quote of the day...

... comes from Peter Oborne in the Telegraph.
The point is that the House of Commons cannot be relied on to defend traditional English liberties or the British way of life. Again and again, the nation has found itself relying on the good sense and sound instincts of the House of Lords, in particular the hereditary element.
There are so many instances, over the last decade or more, when it has been the House of Lords that has protected our freedoms from the spivs, bien pensants, scum, and fascist filth who inhabit the Commons. In short, the Upper House has long protected the citizens of this country from the tyranny of the majority.

Long live the Lords (and may they strike down the police state)!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Democracy is not freedom: the death of liberty in the UK and US

Via Timmy (who enquires as to whether it's actually genuine), I find a post outlining how the government is, effectively, turning the UK into a police state.
The UK Government is about to pass legislation which will make any behaviour perceived to potentially ‘cause nuisance or annoyance’ a criminal offence. The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill also grants local authorities, police and even private security firms sweeping powers to bar citizens from assembling lawfully in public spaces [PDF]. Those who refuse orders under the new rules will face arrest, fines and even prison time.

Essentially, this measure parlays off ASBOs: these were always problematic from a civil liberties point of view (and many of us liberal bloggers ranted about it at the time) since they enabled people to be criminalised by the back door—for things that weren't, actually, specifically illegal. Further, if you breached your ASBO, you could potentially be imprisoned—and for terms that would normally trigger a jury trial.

But the replacements for ASBOs go much, much further.
The Bill introduces Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNAS) to replace ABSO’S. Almost no one will be sad to say goodbye to ASBO’s. The orders, designed to allow police to tackle anti-social behaviour, simply became a means of criminalising youthful indiscretion – and eventually a means of criminalising anything people found annoying.

The ASBO has allowed the line between criminal behaviour and annoying behaviour to become hopelessly blurred–and the IPNAs will only serve to increase the problem. We have seen the abuses permitted under ASBO legislation, the test for which included wording to the effect that ASBOs could only be issued where an actual act of 'harassment, alarm or distress' had occurred. IPNAs have a much weaker test, applicable where on the ‘balance of probabilities’ a person has or might engage in behaviour 'capable of causing annoyance' to another person. How many times a day could this legislation apply to any of us? Eating with our mouths open, talking too loudly into our phones in a public space, walking too slowly or quickly or belching without saying ‘pardon me’. All of this may very well cause annoyance–but soon it might well also be illegal.

The orders can be issued to anyone aged 10 or over (and we all know how well 10 year olds are at being annoying), and there is no limit on how long an IPNA can be applied to a person for. A person could receive an IPNA aged 10 and retain it their entire life.

You might think that these IPNAs were bad enough, but that is only part of the exciting new measures being introduced by the fascists now running this country.
Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs), and new Dispersal Orders will replace Designated Public Space Orders, Dog Control Orders, Gating Orders and a host of other orders intended to keep aggressive drunken people, or drug dealers or dog poo off of our streets. But it is plain that the target for these laws is no longer the person peddling illegal drugs, but the people sharing politically challenging ideas.

As the my impoverished Greek friend, Mr Eugenides, might have said (were he still blogging at home), "what fresh hell is this?"
Public Space Protection Orders

PSPOs will be granted where 'activities carried on or likely to be carried on in a public place will have or have had a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality' [PDF] (p21). They can be used to restrict an activity or require people to perform an activity in a certain way [PDF]. They require substantially less consultation [PDF] than current alcohol free zones or dog control zones and rather than applying to everyone, they can be applied to specific groups of people [PDF] (the homeless, the unemployed, racial/religious groups etc.)–opening the door for discrimination. These rules could see homeless people or young people lawfully excluded from public spaces.

PSPOs are subject to 'on the spot' fines, rather than attendance at a Magistrates Court [PDF], reducing the scrutiny and checks on police power.

These orders are also by no means short term. They can be applied for up to three years, and continued for another three years at the end of their term [PDF].

You might have thought that all of the above was scary enough—but no...
Dispersal Orders

Under the current Direction to Leave powers, anyone over 10 years of age can be asked to disperse from a ‘locality’ and stay dispersed for a period not exceeding 48 hours. Current Dispersal Orders mean a Police Superintendent (or an officer with specific written authority from the SI) can disperse groups of two or more people in areas where there has been ‘persistent anti-social behaviour’ or take home any young person under the age of 16 who is in a dispersal zone between 9pm and 6am. Anyone failing to comply with a Dispersal Order faces a fine of up to £2,500 or up to three months in prison.

Our beloved government, alas, obviously feels that these draconian measures simply are not totalitarian enough...
The new Dispersal Powers mean police constables and even Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) can issue dispersal orders if they think a group of two or more persons might harass, alarm or distress others in the vicinity [PDF] (p16). The PCSO or constable can specify how long the person/group must remain out of the designated area, and by which route they must leave, and also confiscate any items of their property which they deem anti-social. Failure to comply with any element of these orders results in a fine of up to £5,000 or three months in prison. The new legislation also fails to define 'locality'–meaning a person could be excluded from a city, a county or even a whole country [PDF] (p17). In fact, York couldn’t even wait for the new legislation to pass and is already implementing the powers.

These new laws effectively end freedom of assembly in England and Wales, as any lawful assembly can be instantly redefined as illegal on the spot by some part time PCSO, people’s personal possessions can be confiscated, and anyone who dares to challenge the process will end up in jail. [Emphasis mine]

If true, these new measures signal the death of the rule of law, the end of the principle of proportionate punishment and the final expiration of liberty in this country.

There are still some people who claim that the Coalition are more "libertarian" than NuLabour: this legislation hammers the final nail into the coffin of that particular delusion.

Still, at least our glorious government can claim that they are on the side of the angels: after all, that nice Mister Obama and his merry men in the US government are busy raping the freedoms of our cousins over the Pond too.
So I have some great news folks! The Republicans and the Democrats in Congress and the White House FINALLY came together and agreed on something. This is HUGE. These guys disagree on EVERYTHING! Getting them to see eye-to-eye is like getting the Jews and the Palestinians to do a trust fall together. Or getting Eskimos and polar bears to play Jenga.

I'm referring to the bill H.R. 347 that was signed by President Obama the other day, passed unanimously in the Senate, and 388-3 in the House. That's nearly EVERY SINGLE lawmaker.

What did this magical universally-loved bill say? Well some are calling it the anti-Occupy law and it allows the government to bring charges against Americans involved in many kinds of political protest at any location the secret service, quote, "is or will be temporarily visiting." So basically if the government wants to shut down a protest, they just send a secret service officer down there to scratch his balls, and then they can start putting people in jail for a year or more.

Of course, as Lee Camp points out, this legislation is contrary to the US Constitution—but the bastards passed it anyway.
But the bill doesn't stop there. I mean, when you have the entirety of Congress with the exception of Ron Paul agreeing on something, why not swing for the fences? The bill also says it could be a federal crime to protest near an event of, quote, "national significance." Well, that's not vague at all.

So, it seems that our delightful Coalition—the one that promised to restore our rights, shrink the nanny state, and give more responsibility to the people—is in good company with the idiots in the good ol' US of A. I have to say that my response to all of this accords remarkably well with Lee Camp's own reaction.
Well, Congress gets to stomp on the Bill of Rights, I want to do it too. I want to bring back cruel and unusual punishment, and then we could demand that every man or woman who voted for the Anti-Protest Law or signed it from the Oval Office be tied up in the town square naked for a week while everyone gets to throw fire ants and bumble bees at their naughty parts. Deal??

And after that, of course, we should hang them all.

I would suggest that we actually protest against these disgustingly fascists measures but I'm too pretty for prison...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Those blogging principles…

When I retired The Kitchen (and mostly retired—full stop), I outlined the following as one of the reasons for quitting...
Further, when your humble Devil started blogging, those of us who were of different political opinions still adhered to certain standards of evidence and honesty: that sense of brotherhood has disappeared with the introduction of the financially-backed party political sites.

There are, of course, some bloggers around who still adhere to those principles; bloggers who were there when I started, and continue to write good stuff now: Unity is one of those.
I’m perhaps one of the last people you’d expect to see stepping up to defend Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes) but you’d be wrong because there are principles that come into play whenever a blogger, even one as notorious as Guido, is subjected to an unjustified, hectoring attack by a bullying politician for reasons that have never been better expressed than by the playwright Robert Bolt...

Good for Unity—do pop over to his place for the full story. And good for Guido for setting the lawyers on the mendacious Claire Perry MP: it's about time that our public servants were reminded of who they work for.

And, more pertinently, that they are not above the law.

Idiot Tory MP of the day

Whilst you might think that the story about British jobs being advertised across the EU made the government look ridiculous, it seems that the Coalition can still find some arse to make them look even worse.

Step forward Matthew Hancock MP who is—dear fucking god—a "Business Minister... a close ally of the Chancellor George Osborne". According to Hancock:
Companies have a "social duty" to employ young British workers rather than better-qualified immigrants, a Conservative minister said today.

No, they don't—piss off.

Of course, once people started to describe paying unnecessary amounts of corporation tax as companies' "social duty"—with Starbucks giving in to this bullying—it was only a matter of time before some nasty little fascist started to apply the same argument to his own personal bugbear.
Matthew Hancock, a Business Minister, said employers have a responsibility to ensure young people in their local community are given the opportunity to get a job and get on in life. He said firms should invest in training British staff rather than simply seeking "pure profit".

Mr Hancock, a close ally of the Chancellor George Osborne, denied he was repeating Gordon Brown's ill-fated "British jobs for British workers" slogan. "This is about a change of culture. I'm arguing that it is companies' social responsibility, it is their social duty, to look at employing locally first," he told BBC Radio 4. "That may mean that they have to do more training. It may mean more training in hard skills, in specific skills. Or it may mean training in the wherewithal, the character you need in order to hold down a job."

Look, Matthew: you probably won't appreciate this, but hiring employees is an expensive business.
He said many employers had told him that such an investment led to more motivated employees with a greater attachment to the company.

Really? We haven't noticed that, at my work. Generally, we have found that—as a small business—we are unable to pay the kind of wages that our employees can get elsewhere.

Can you imagine some bloody MP standing up and demanding that workers should stay put in their jobs and help to build British firms rather than "simply seeking "pure profit""...?

Oh, no, wait—yes, I can.

Which really, frankly, simply illustrates that maybe—and I know that this is a controversial point—just maybe MPs do not know what the hell they are talking about. And, further, that they should, perhaps, shut their fucking faces and let the rest of us get on with our lives.

Internet censorship

Oh look, it appears that David Cameron's famous internet filters will, by default, censor more than just naughty porno.

Well, ain't that a fucking surprise?
The British prime minister's internet filters will be about more than just hardcore pornography, according to information obtained by the Open Rights Group.

The organisation, which campaigns for digital freedoms, has spoken to some of the Internet Service Providers that will be constructing Cameron's content filters. They discovered that a host of other categories of supposedly-objectionable material may be on the block-list.

As well as pornography, users may automatically be opted in to blocks on "violent material", "extremist related content", "anorexia and eating disorder websites" and "suicide related websites", "alcohol" and "smoking". But the list doesn't stop there. It even extends to blocking "web forums" and "esoteric material", whatever that is. "Web blocking circumvention tools" is also included, of course.

The Open Rights Group have been talking to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and got the low-down on the kind of options that will be presented to subscribers.
After brief conversations with some of the Internet Service Providers that will be implementing the UK's "pornwall" we've established a little bit about what it will be doing. To be fair, the BBC were pretty close.

The essential detail is that they will assume you want filters enabled across a wide range of content, and unless you un-tick the option, network filters will be enabled. As we’ve said repeatedly, it’s not just about hardcore pornography.

You'll encounter something like this:

What's clear here is that David Cameron wants people to sleepwalk into censorship. We know that people stick with defaults: this is part of the idea behind 'nudge theory' and 'choice architecture' that is popular with Cameron.

Indeed. One of the best takes on this that I have seen is this hypothetical conversation at Another Angry Voice...
Dodgy PR strategist: You just need to get your narrative right. Tell them it's about protecting children. Tell them that the wonderful innocence of youth mustn't be despoiled. Tell them that children shouldn't be exposed to vile pornography.

Political leader: What, like rape porn?

Dodgy PR strategist: Exactly. Make out that the censorship programme is an effort to protect children, and then add rape porn and paedophilia into the mix.

Political leader: So that... [waits expectantly]

Dodgy PR strategist: So that you can roll out your firewall and taint anyone that tries to oppose it as a rape porn apologist ... But don't call it a firewall or censorship or anything like that. Call it a porn blocker or a child protection measure.

Political leader: But I don't want to protect children, I want to silence political dissent. Look what happened in Egypt and Hungary. Look what is happening in Turkey right now. We mustn't allow that to happen here.

Dodgy PR strategist: You're missing the point.

Political leader: What point?

Dodgy PR strategist: That when you launch the pornography blocker, you're setting the precident that the government can automatically block citizen from accessing perfectly legal material. Plus by installing Internet filters you're putting the censorship infrastructure in place. Once it's all rolled out, you can easily change the parameters to block whatever you like.

I highly recommend that you go and read the whole thing—even if you don't believe that there is any truth in it (and I think there is) then it is, at least, entertainingly amusing.

And the point about censoring things that are perfectly legal is a point well made. It is true that David Cameron is planning to make "rape porn" illegal, but that hasn't happened yet—but the internet filter will come in long before any law banning it. After all, legally, "rape porn" is something that is very difficult to define.

Naturally, there are a number of female campaigners that have urged this ban: but "rape porn" is not simply the preserve of disturbed men. There is, for instance, a scene in Iain M Banks' Complicity in which one of the female protagonists gets her lover to indulge her rape fantasy: and the way in which it is written could, in some very broad definition, be described as pornographic. Will that book and film adaptation now be banned?

And lest some smartarse suggest that this scene is simply a misogynist male author merely indulging his fantasy, I myself have dated at least one woman who had "rape" fantasies (something which I was as uncomfortable about as Cameron Colley is in Complicity).

But we don't even have to concern ourselves with this contentious topic: if the information from the Open Rights Foundation is correct, then the government's power grab is far more unrestrainedly naked. What possible justification can the state have for default, ISP-level filtering of information about perfectly legal topics as "violent material", "extremist related content", "anorexia and eating disorder websites", "suicide related websites", "alcohol" and "smoking"? Not to mention blocking all "web forums".

And what the fuck is "esoteric material"—anything that the government doesn't like?

You know, it is becoming my firm belief that MPs should not be allowed to have children: they would be far less likely to wheel out this "for the kiddies" schtick.

In the meantime, this country's march towards fascism continues apace...

UPDATE: Longrider is excellent on this:
But, you see, that libertarian outrage that Orr dismisses so lightly isn’t about porn, it’s about the bigger picture. It’s about the state deciding what is okay for the citizen to look at or read. Porn today—because no one will defend the pornographer without sullying himself—but tomorrow, it will be something else. It will always be something else because the beast is never sated. The puritans always come back for another bite, because they know best and we don’t. Once the precedent is set—that the state may decide what we view—it will decide on our behalf to protect us from other undesirable content.

That is the point. Porn is simply the Trojan horse.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Climate models are crap

Back in late November of 2009, ClimateGate broke and those of us on the sceptic side were delighted. An enormous number of people put in lots of work on the released emails—exposing the collusion and sharp practices being undertaken by "The Team" of Hockey Stick adherents.

Your humble Devil took another tack.

Alongside the various email trails, the leak also included much of the computer code that these "scientists" were using to generate their climate models. Whilst the MSM, reluctantly, did run stories on the email trails—by then, the uproar was such that they could barely ignore the scandal—not one mainstream paper (as far as I could see) even admitted that the code had been released (presumably because, being journalists, they wouldn't have the first clue as to how to analyse it).

So, your humble Devil decided to concentrate on the code and, in particular, the comments in the Harry Read Me file. I went hunting around, and found people who were trying to run the code, and analyse these comments—and what we found was horrendous.
So, come with me on a wonderful journey as the CRU team realise that not only have they lost great chunks of data but also that their application suites and algorithms are total crap; join your humble Devil and Asimov as we dive into the HARRY_READ_ME.txt (thanks to The Englishman) file and follow the trials and tribulations of Ian "Harry" Harris as he tries to recreate the published data because he has nothing else to go on!

Thrill as he "glosses over" anomalies; let your heart sing as he gets some results to within 0.5 degrees; rejoice as Harry points out that everything is undocumented and that, generally speaking, he hasn't got the first clue as to what's going on with the data!

Chuckle as one of CRU's own admits that much of the centre's data and applications are undocumented, bug-ridden, riddled with holes, missing, uncatalogued and, in short, utterly worthless.

And wonder as you realise that this was v2.10 and that, after this utter fiasco, CRU used the synthetic data and wonky algorithms to produce v3.0!

You'll laugh! You'll cry! You won't wonder why CRU never wanted to release the data! You will wonder why we are even contemplating restructuring the world economy and wasting trillions of dollars on the say-so of data this bad.

Essentially, the data was in a mess, the scientists were entering "synthetic" data (guesstimates, essentially), the code was producing meaningless answers, and some of the results had been interpreted entirely wrongly. (IIRC, FrancisT tried running the actual code (though I cannot find the exact post just now) and found that it would error but just carry on running—no trapping at all).

In other words, the data and software that these people were using to produce the climate models was crap—garbage in, garbage out.

So, we knew that the models were fantasies—it's just that no one reported on it.

Today Anthony Watts has highlighted a new paper which corroborates that assertion.
New peer reviewed paper finds the same global forecast model produces different results when run on different computers

Did you ever wonder how spaghetti like this is produced and why there is broad disagreement in the output that increases with time?

Increasing mathematical uncertainty from initial starting conditions is the main reason. But, some of it might be due to the fact that while some of the models share common code, they don’t produce the same results with that code owing to differences in the way CPU’s, operating systems, and compilers work. Now with this paper, we can add software uncertainty to the list of uncertainties that are already known unknowns about climate and climate modeling.

So, now it's official—the code is crap. Therefore the climate models are crap.

And we're busy beggaring the world on the say-so of corrupt scientists, inaccurate data, flakey software and Green loons.

People should hang for this...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The disingenuous Anna Soubry MP

Via Dick Puddlecote, Simon Clark has highlighted the flouting of Parliamentary scrutiny by Anna Soubry MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department of Health, over the Tobacco Products EU Directive.
Yesterday public health minister Anna Soubry and Andrew Black, head of tobacco policy at the Department of Health, were summoned to attend a meeting of the European Scrutiny Committee which scrutinises draft EU legislation on behalf of the House of Commons.

According to its website, the Committee assesses which proposals are of particular political or legal importance. It then draws these proposals to the attention of the House through weekly Committee Reports and by recommending some draft legislation for debate.

Members (MPs) were unhappy they hadn't been given the opportunity to scrutinise draft proposals to revise the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). Reading between the lines, they were furious.

Actually, you don't even have to read between the lines: Michael Connarty (who, despite being a Labourite, is superb in this hearing) stated that he was furious.

Anyway Simon's summation of the case is as follows:

At yesterday's meeting chairman Bill Cash said they wanted to explore Anna Soubry's extraordinary decision to override scrutiny of the TPD, choosing instead to go ahead and agree a general response to the Directive at a [European] Health Council meeting in Luxembourg on June 21.

"We take a decision to override scrutiny very seriously indeed, especially when it concerns a proposal of such importance,” he admonished her.

Incredibly, it emerged there had been no correspondence between Soubry and the Scrutiny Committee for six months between January and June 2013. Oddly enough, this is the very period when the Committee would have been expected to scrutinise the draft TPD which was published in December 2012.

Minutes of yesterday's Scrutiny Committee meeting won't be published until next week but I have read a summary of the meeting and what appears to have happened is this:

Rapidly approaching the end of Ireland's six-month presidency of the European Council, the DH decided it had to act fast to help move the Directive closer to implementation.

Officials (and Soubry) decided there was no time for proper scrutiny of a Directive that will affect millions of consumers in Britain, not to mention thousands of small businesses.

So they asked for a waiver from the scrutiny committees in both Houses of Parliament (Lords and Commons). The Lords agreed but the Commons Scrutiny Committee said no.

Concerned that any delay might delay the revised TPD (which includes plans to ban menthol cigarettes and restrict pack sizes) or tie the UK government's hands on plain packaging, Soubry and Black travelled to Luxembourg determined, it seems, to support the draft TPD regardless of any concerns elected members of parliament may have had.

If I am reading this correctly, they failed even to seek clearance from other government departments.

Before we look at this further, let us remind ourselves of five things that were not in the Coalition Manifesto:
  1. plain—or "standardised"—packaging of cigarettes;
  2. a ban on menthol cigarettes;
  3. an increase in the size of health warnings to 65% of the pack area;
  4. a ban on ten-packs of cigarettes;
  5. a ban—or de facto ban through reclassification—on ecigarettes.
As far as I understand it, the Tobacco Products Directive does all of these things—apart from plain packaging (Chris Snowdon has some of the latest updates).

So, to return to Anna Soubry and her quite deliberate decision to bypass Parliamentary Standing Orders...

Ms Soubry's reason for doing so was, apparently, "article 24" which—according to her—would have stopped member states introducing plain packages for cigarettes (and other measures).

And the egregious Soubry then said that she had to take a position—against all protocol—in order to preserve the "sovereignty" of the UK government!

So, here is my summary: this repulsive little liar decided that the Tobacco Products Directive simply did not allow enough scope for the UK government to be even more fascist than the TPD itself; as such, she decided to deny scrutiny of the Directive, override democratic process, because she "really believed" that if the TPD was not passed at that moment, then it would be dropped "for a very long time".

Even though the measures that the TPD introduce were never in either the Conservative or Coalition Manifesto.

If you watch the hearing at (or below), you will also find out some other revealing information.

Such as the fact—revealed when Soubry was challenged as to how important the UK's vote was—that the Tobacco Products Directive went through the Council of Ministers without there even being a vote. As I understand it, these ministers just sat around, had a bit of negotiation and then just cosily decided that they were all happy enough to just let this pass.

As Simon Clark says:
It's scandalous. So much for Parliament. So much for open and democratic government.


Now we know how law-making is handled in the EU: a privileged bunch of our betters just sit around, making far-reaching decisions about our lives—and all without even the fig-leaf accountability of allowing us plebs to see who voted for what.

And so Ms Soubry:
  • colluded with foreign powers to pass through a Directive that will force the UK Parliament to enact legislation…
  • … that was not in her government's manifesto (and which, therefore, no one in this coutry voted for);
  • in doing so she ignored one of the most fundamental of our Parliament's Standing Orders…
  • … because she wanted to leave the field open for the government to impose even more draconian legislation that was not in their manifesto;
  • and her justification for doing all of this is that she was, in fact, "defending the sovereignty" of the UK Parliament.
I hope that the arrogant, mendacious little shit is raked over the coals for this episode.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The new road to serfdom

A rather super speech by Dan Hannan to the Cato Institute.

Stirring stuff, methinks.

Monday, May 27, 2013

New music: Punctuation by Thea Gimore

Thea Gimore is 33, and Regardless is her fourteenth studio album—one cannot deny that she is prolific*. Not everything that she produces is great—though it's all listenable—but Regardless is a return to the form that made, for example, Rules for Jokers so fucking good.

Although it's one of the slower tracks on the album, Punctuation is a fucking amazing song. It took me a couple of listens (literally) to get it in my head and it is now my current ear-worm (much to the wife's irritation—I think that she probably dreads me finding new music!). As with most of Thea's great music, you really need to listen to the lyrics—there's some clever stuff "in the details"...

Powerful and wonderful...

* Altough not as prolific as my brother, who has penned some 600 songs in the last 15 years. But then again, Thea's a well-known artist who actually makes money out of this...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Just one word will do

Dan Hannan offers his explanation for why politicians tend to the Eurosceptic after leaving office...
Hannan's First Law, it seems, is as robust as ever: no party is ever Eurosceptic while in office.
Why not? Mainly because of what Milton Friedman called 'the tyranny of the status quo'.
Um, maybe. But, there is a better word to describe this tendency.

That word is "cowardice".

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