Arthurian Legend

"Once back here I got to thinking - 'how do I get out of this?' Perhaps the really haunting spectre is that I would have to turn my back on the lake, and the prospect of the sword." Alan Clark, Diaries - 19th May 1999

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Couldn't have put it better myself!

"To dismiss a speech as "being of a party leader rather than a prime minister", when Cameron is a party leader rather than a Prime Minister, pretty much sums up the brain power of Ed Balls."

PrinceHal on CommentIsFree.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Boris Gets It Slighty Wrong

In Boris's article for today's Telegraph, our Man for the Mayoralty seems to get a little bit confused about just what increases in the tax allowance for certain individuals means.

As a libertarian Conservative, I believe that beyond a certain amount (perhaps 15%-20% of GDP), tax is effectively legalised theft. The basic position from the secular, political point of view is that our own money, income and property is own own, not the government's.

The state is jusitified in taxing the citizens to some extent to pay for functions of the state that are legitimate and necessary. And I take the view that the legitimate and necessary functions of the state are limited - much less than what the state currently does. Beyond fulfilling a certain relatively small number of legitimate functions, all money taken from us by coercion is bascially theft: the taking with the intention permanently to deprive us of our own money. There's no way that the Government needs to take what it does.

So, I think that Boris has got things slightly the wrong way round. Bascially, he's adopted the Labour approach wholesale.

How does he view people's own private money? He talks about "the taxpayer [coughing] up for a married couple" and married couples potentially getting "£20 from the government."

Actually, what IDS in the Tories' so-called "Social Justice Commission" report is proposing is not to take so much of the married couple's money in the first place. It's not someone else coughing up for me. It's me being stolen from slightly less by the government for the benefit of the re-election of the government's ministers and backbench MPs.

It's my £20 a week that is currently being taken from me without my consent and all that is being proposed is that they no longer take this from me on condition of my being married. Well, frankly, they shouldn't take it from me in the first place, married or not.

So no, I do not accept differential treatment for married and single people. We should all be allowed to keep more, much more, of our own cash. Discriminating between marital status is not really a vote winner - it leaves certain people feeling unfairly treated, and ignores the core philosophical and moral injustice in the amount of taxation we all suffer.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Fiona Mactaggart...

...was, according to her biography on Wikipedia, the General Secretary of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants from 1982-87.

Good job then, since over a hundred have just landed on her constituency doorstep in Slough.

Even Channel 4 news this evening had an "interview" with one of them who was being put on at council tax payers' expense in a local B&B. When asked where the money was coming from she replied, "Social"!

Mactaggart polled over 17,000 votes at the 2005 General Election, with the second-placed Conservative candidate falling well short with under 10,000.

Wonder how many this little event will cost her?

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Quote of the Day (May 2007 edition)

“[Pupils] will be able to hydrate during the learning experience”

So said Alan McMurdo, headteacher of the Thomas Deacon city academy school to be opened in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, in Autumn 2007...the school for 2,200 pupils that does not have a playground.

Central planning, management speak, New Labour.

Doncha just love it?

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Local election rubbish

Tim Hames makes a good point in today's Times:-

"this wheelie bin revolt helped to boost Tory numbers. It does, nonetheless, raise the question as to whether the theme of “vote blue, go green” will be a winner for David Cameron in the longer term."

An even bigger problem is that, as Richard North on the EU Referendum blog repeatedly points out, the moves towards fortnightly collections are in direct response to the ever-increasing cost of such collections, thanks to the EU's Waste Framework Directive. This is estimated to cost the UK around £10-£12 billion extra in terms of landfill taxes, the building of recycling facilities, and EU fines for failing to comply in time with the EU's recycling targets.

The Conservatives now taking control of more and more councils will be virtually powerless to negate the effects of these bigger systemic problems. The only hope is that they will be able to find effeciency gains elsewhere that can offset the costs of the effects of the Waste Framework Directive. In some places, they may be able to. But in many they probably won't. Which means that the more the Conservatives win now, the bigger the likely future loss will be when "local Conservative goverment" is unable to deal with this problem effectively.

Since this Directive was inspired by waste management solutions in countries very different from the UK, it is a clear example of how local government has now been all but emasculated not only by Westminster but by Brussels, itself beyond the control of Westminster and the British electorate of any description or configuration.

That is why for the moment, whilst the local election results may be a harbinger of forthcoming Conservative victory in the next General Election, the practical consequences that will flow from a change of administration at the local level will be much less than any main political party will care to admit.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Postal vote fraud in Birmingham

The BBC is reporting that the request for postal vote in two Birmingham city wards have dropped since the last election by up to 80%.

The wards mentioned are Bordsley Green and Aston.

The councillors who won the seats in those wards are:-

Bordsley Green

AZIZ, ABDUL [Independent]

Yet from listening to Radio 4's Today programme this morning you would never have known it was largely Labour and Lib Dem councillors who benefitted.

Draw your own conclusions.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Lesley White interviews Cameron

"He can scratch a pig’s back so effectively that the creature sighs (this I saw with my own eyes); he can castrate a ram with a pair of pliers (I didn’t see this, thank God)".

Watch out, errant backbenchers.


Saturday, 21 April 2007

Some Members of the Crewe Transport Police...

...would appear, from Richard Brunstrom's blog, to be a bit slow...

Brunstrom, Chief Police Officer of the North Wales force, writes:-

"Back up north on the 1549hrs train from Euston. Got to Crewe but had a thirty minute wait for a connection, during which time a foul-mouthed argument broke out amongst a family group (including a young baby) waiting for a Liverpool train on the same platform. The group split up, but one (drunken) youth in particular continued to hurl abuse from a distance of thirty metres or so, across the heads of the passengers waiting for the train. An intervention was needed, with me in my business suit and carry a briefcase.

Luckily I had spotted that the British Transport police were nearby so I went and fetched them, much to the surprise of everyone, including them, and the youth. He was temporarily arrested and led away to be dealt with by fixed penalty ticket; and was I think quite properly prevented from travelling."

Friday, 20 April 2007

Asia's richest woman leaves clairvoyant £2bn

From today's Telegraph.

Bet she didn't see that coming.

Newman Offers "Galloway" Defence

(click to enlarge)

Covered on his blog yesterday, the Islington Tribune today reports N's joke at the expense of Chris S and myself and the fiasco over the council election voting forms last year.

Basically, without a local campaign agent in Islington North, all the work of verifying nominators' signatures in a number of wards was left to our overworked Chairman, Chris S, now redeeming himself as the extremely hard working, intelligent and no doubt underpaid researcher to Conservative shadow education secretary, David Willetts.

As for the story of the candidacy that was not to be, the situation (rather prosaicly) was that a number of nominators who swore that they were on the electoral register in Mildmay turned out on closer examination not to be. That closer examination took place only about one hour before the close of nominations. Although there was a last-ditch attempt to replace the vital invalid signatures, we still fell one short. Incredibly, Islington Council had managed to put one crucial nominator on the electoral register of an adjacent ward, despite her having resided in Mildmay for years before the date in question.

Anyway, the Lib Dems turned out to be the principal beneficiaries of the signature collection cock-up, retaining crucial votes that otherwise may have gone to the Conservatives and which may have meant Labour narrowly taking the ward, and thus the Council.

Whereas Galloway later protested that his tribute to the Butcher of Baghdad ("Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, and your indefatigability") was in fact addressed to the Iraqi people as a whole, Newmania protests that his words ("the denizens of Mildmay are almost bestially stupid") were in fact meant about me alone.

Still, after this Boris-like escapade it will sadden readers to learn that Newmania will shortly be pursuing alternative career options in another local Conservative association, hoping that the burning building he's fleeing will have engulfed in flames all of its residents (denizens), preventing news about this petite affaire from ever escaping!

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Corporate Social Responsibility

I think I know what Jim Royle from the Royle Family would probably say about that.

In a recent speech, the Boy Dave has lauded a project by a guy called Tim Campbell to get 4000 businesses to donate collectively £1m to enable 365 businesses to be started up over the next year.

Apparently, this is something that companies should be doing to help teenagers and people in their twenties to become entrepreneurs.

DC said "There is a new spirit of creativity in our country. We politicians need to match this with a new spirit of our own - tearing down the barriers which stop people founding businesses of their own. But only when people themselves - as businesses and neighbours - take responsibility for their own communities, will we build the Britain we all want to see: prosperous, safe and socially just."

There's quite a bit to pick apart here.

First, if there's a new spirit of creativity around, why doesn't this extend to creativity about getting money for a new business?

And aren't you a little bit suspicious of politicians claiming to know what the spirit of the age is up to in a way that conveniently fits with their own interests: remember Gordon Brown saying people are moving away from the cult of celebrity (towards appreciating the merits of boring old gits) just as the Sun was splashing news of the Will 'n Kate split across its front page?

And why would a business want to give cash to a potential new competitor?

And how does the creation of new businesses in and of itself help Britain to be more "safe"?

And talk of it being "socially just" seems ripe for the Royle raspberry, "My arse!"

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

What to do with a problem like Iran?

Well, now that the hostages are on their way home, perhaps this idea from a Samizdata contributor can be put into cold storage.

"Blair should offer an apology through the UN to secure their release.

As soon as the servicemen are free he should issue another statement revoking his apology.

The Royal Navy should then mine all Iranian ports and destroy Iran's major cities through the use of the Royal Navy's cruise missiles. The British government should order the immediate construction of 5 Nimitz aircraft carriers and make all Royal Air Force Typhoons flight-deck compatible.

The Typhoons should then systematically reduce the rest of Iran to rubble."

For now.

Arthurian Legend is off to Barcelona for Easter.