Friday, December 08, 2006

Saving the world through technology

OK, so I exaggerated. The link above is to a site that lists all kinds of technical innovations to do with energy conservation, renewables, pollution-reductions etc. There's a lot of interesting stuff on display. Despite the prevailing anti-technology and anti-science atmosphere that hides behind a lot of the concern about climate change, there's a lot of good work being done out there...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Apologising for slavery

Nice article on spiked-online following Tony Blair's nauseating hand-wringing on slavery.

As for those who demand reparations, the idiocy is astounding. What about the blacks who profited from slavery (including the small group of black slave-owners in the US)? What about the Arabs, will they make reparations too? And can we trace the white victims of slavery, and arrange to pay-off their descendants too?

I would suggest that a more pressing concern, (other than Iraq, the NHS, education and the other horrors inflicted on us by new Labour), is those poor souls in Mauritania who remain slaves hundreds of years after it has been abolished in the West.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Environmental Fundamentalists

It should be no surprise that the announcement of ITER project to build an experimental fusion reactor has been met with criticism from the likes of Greenpeace and other 'environmentalists'. While it's one thing to have doubts about the efficacy of huge international bureaucracies running the show, or doubts about the engineering approach adopted for the proposed reactor, it's clear that the doubts from Greenpeace and the like are very different in nature.

For them the promise of almost unlimited energy from fusion is a nightmare. Forget that fusion energy is relatively carbon-neutral and that the fuel is plentiful and cheap. The nightmare for them is that if it works it will power the world to continue to accelerate economic development. For the green movement anything that promotes consumption is bad. That's the bottom line for them. Cutting back on energy usage, reducing consumption and economic development, these are what Monbiot and co are after.

Technologies like thorium power, fusion and so on are a huge threat to environmental fundamentalists.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Petition against faith schools

Online petition of the Prime Minister against faith schools:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Abolish all faith schools and prohibit the teaching of creationism and other religious mythology in all UK schools

Monday, November 06, 2006

Closing speeches in Kriss Donald Trial

More from the BBC web site. Don't bother looking on the Guardian, Indymedia, Socialist Worker etc, you won't find anything...

Crime and Punishment (Part 2)

To date there's been little formal response to the innovative Progressive Contrarian crime and punishment policies previously outlined on this web site. The silence from politicians (left, right and centre) has been deafening. However, not to be discouraged, here is the promised second tranche of new policies that the Home Secretary is welcome to nick for himself:

1. Gun crime. First offenders will be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan to complete a tour of duty. There will be no exceptions. Repeat offenders will complete a second tour of duty, though this time they will not be issued with ammunition.

2. Alcohol-induced violence. Those found guilty will be sent to a clinic where they will have vodka administered intravenously. This will be done in an isolation room so that there is no possible social pleasure derived from the experience. Once a mammoth hang-over has been induced the offender will be forced to complete a six-mile cross-country run. Failure to complete the run will cause additional intravenous vodka, stomach-pumping and then another attempt at a run.

3. Knife crime. Male offenders convicted of knife crime will have half an inch of penis surgically removed for a first offence. Subsequent offences will cause the loss of a full inch. The most persistent offenders will also be sentenced to breast enhancement surgery. How macho will these guys feel with no knob and pendulous boobs?

4. Joy-riders will be supplied with roller-skates and then tied to the back of their victim's vehicle. The driver will be free to drive at speed on any public road for a period of half an hour. A second offender will only be issued with one skate. There are no skates issued for subsequent offences, though in the interests of fairness the victims of the joy-rider will only be allowed to drive their cars for 15 minutes.

It is to be hoped that this time politicians take notice. More Progressive Contrarian policies are in the pipe-line...

Friday, November 03, 2006

An act of inhumanity

You know, when the racist bastards who killed Kriss Donald finally get found guilty I hope the sentence is indefinite life. They should never be released. In fact this is one of those rare occassions when perhaps a Sharia sentence would be the best option. Or perhaps once these bastards get into prison proper they'll get the justice they deserve from other prisoners.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Thorium power

More on thorium powered nuclear reactors...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The good news on Iraq

Deep, deep inside 10 Downing Street...

PM: I'm sick to death of all the negativity around Iraq. It's all bad, bad, bad. Never. Do we read any of the good news. I mean. We've got rid of an awful dictator. We made him put his weapons of destruction so far out of reach it was like they never existed.

Drone1: What are you saying, Tony?

PM: I'm saying that it's time we put across the good news from Iraq. Let's take the initiative for once. No more reacting to bad news defensively.

Drone2: Is it initiative with a capital I? Or is it a lower-case initiative?

Drone1: We've had four new initiatives this month. We've got two more scheduled for next month.

PM: Does that mean we've achieved our initiative targets?

Drone1: Yes, Tony. Exceeded the target in fact.

PM: Hell, and they say we're a lame duck government. It's sickening. We lead the world in Initiatives and do we get any credit for it?

Drone2: How about commissioning a report?

Drone1: Is that an upper-case 'Report' or a lower-case 'report'?

PM: What have we got?

Drone2: I think we're all commissioned out at the moment. Gordon's been bitching about this again. Says we can't take on any more special advisors for doing reports until he's in the hot seat himself.

PM: Bastard. OK. No Initiative. No Report. I still think we need to get on the case. How about... A major international conference?

Drone2: Excellent idea. I think there's a slot in a couple of weeks.

PM: And if we take that slot what does that do for our target?

Drone1: Puts us over the target in international conferences as well.

PM: Excellent. World class. So. What is the good news from Iraq?

Drone2: Sorry, Tony? I don't quite follow...

PM: I want us to lead on some strong news. We need to show the world that my Iraq policy has been a success. So, what do we have?

Drone1: Er....

Drone2: Ah....

PM: Come on. You're not going to tell me it's all bad? Look at the NHS. It's so much better than it used to be. They meet their targets often enough. It's a perception thing.

Drone1: Got you, Tony. Got you. OK. How's this. Increased social mobility.

PM: I like that. What's the story.

Drone1: Well, under Saddam people weren't free. Now, under a stable and popular democratic regime people are free to move around as they wish. All over Iraq people are on the move - in fact whole communities are moving en-masse, actively encouraged by their neighbours usually.

Drone2: That's good. I've got one too. Education.

PM: I like the sound of this.

Drone2: Under Saddam education was nothing but force-fed propaganda and indoctrination. Now, under the popularly elected government education is free. Particularly faith-based education. There's been a lot of growth in faith-based education, a lot.

Drone1: Yes, explosive growth in fact.

PM: Excellent.

Drone2: Industry? We need something on that too, I would think.

PM: Very true. We need to show how democracy has made the population more prosperous.

Drone1: The private security industry’s really taken off....

Drone2: The association of small arms dealers is doing well....

Drone1: Funeral and mortuary services are showing phenomenal expansion...

PM: Hmm. Let's just stick to the good news on mobility and education for now.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Why there is no God

Nice piece by Richard Dawkins at the Times today. Pass it on to your religious friends...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Peter Tatchell

While I disagree with much that Peter Tatchell has to say, particularly on green issues, when it comes to civil liberties he's generally pretty sound. When Sir Iqbal Sacranie of the Muslim Council of Britain made anti-gay statements a while back, Tatchell was asked to comment. Did he attack Sacranie as anti-gay bigot who should be prosecuted for hate speech? Nope. Tatchell stood up and said that Sacranie should be free to say what he likes. The only proviso being that Sacranie should in turn be prepared to listen to those who espouse anti-Muslim sentiments.

There's a good piece at the Guardian today where Tatchell points out the hypocrisy of those Muslims who bleat on about Islamophobia but who espoused some of the most reactionary bollocks you'll hear in this country (even more reactionary than the BNP for example). He also makes a point of mentioning the parasitical Left like the SWP who ally themselves with Islamic fascists.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Consciousness is king

In an earlier post Debuking the debunkers I mentioned the theory proposed by some people that consciousness is an illusion. There's an interesting review on of a book called 'A Mind So Rare' that sets out to attack that idea and to put consciousness to the fore. Well worth reading.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Genius or crank?

Randell Mills is a genius - there's no doubt about that. The question is 'a genius at what'? Self-promotion and exploiting the gullible? Or as a scientist making fundamental breakthroughs in physics.

It would be great to have him proved right. Those who hate the weirdness of quantum physics will be relieved to find that his more classical approach explains many of the results of quantum mechanics without the counter-intuitive and down-right strangeness offered by Bohr, Heisenberg and the like. And, as important, if his theories are correct there's the promise of whole new power sources.

On the other hand, his work is so far against the grain that it seems too good to be true.

However, it's the scientific method which will ultimately clear the doubt. If he's a clever con-man then he'll be exposed. If what he says is on the right track then those scientists who are risking ridicule by taking him seriously will be doing us all a great service.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Debunking the debunkers

The normally reliable spiked-online currently features a confused piece on 'Debunking the debunkers'. An attack on what the author, Ben Pile, calls a loose movement to oppose the 'attack on science', the piece seems to link together a number of disparate strands of thought to form a composite 'sceptics movement' which it attacks in turn for lacking the confidence in rationality itself.

To quote:

The view of scepticism that emerges is that it feels impotent, is terrified of the world, and lacks trust in other people’s ability to determine their own interests or make their own decisions. The leading thinkers of the loose movement of sceptics end up coming across not as confident individuals who have radical visions about how to use their rationalist outlook to change the world, but rather as timid souls, keen to advance the idea that that world is a dangerous place, made all the more dangerous by ideas themselves.

In part it does this by suggesting that many sceptics subscribe to the 'meme' hypothesis proposed by Richard Dawkins. This is the theory that ideas themselves are discrete units that can reproduce and spread through a population - they are the mental equivalent of genes in other words. Firstly it's not clear whether Dawkins meant that memes are real or whether he's speaking metaphorically. The whole thing is confused and confusing. However, to suggest that the majority of sceptics subsribe to the idea is bizarre. It's not clear on what evidence Pile bases this assumption.

Pile also assumes that the sceptics accept the computationalist view of consciousness - in other words that we deny the central role of conscious thought and instead view it as a convenient fiction to rationalise deeper semi-conscious processes. In this view mind is composed of competing agents - independent units of thought - which somehow come together to direct our actions and which we then piece together a narrative called conciousness.

Again, to propose that this is a widely accepted idea within the sceptics community seems to be based on wishful thinking on Pile's part.

The central message that rationalists have is that it's the scientific method which is primarily the engine for debunking pseudo-science and religion. And, far from being embedded in the establishment, it is increasingly those who refuse to accept the primacy of 'faith' who are in the minority.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Diversity Training

A nicely satirical look at Diversity Training over at Very funny. Unlike the real thing of course...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Center For A Stateless Society

For those interested in a 'markey anarchist' or 'anarcho-capitalism', thenn the Center For A Stateless Society is worth investigation, particularly the FAQ.

Iranian left activists manhandled on stop the war demo

What's interesting about the above post to the UK Indymedia site isn't just the details of how the Stop The War coalition allies itself with supporters of Iran's Islamofascist state, but also the comments that attack the author of the piece.

Don't these morons realise that the Islamists would have no compunction about suppressing the Left? Can't they see what the Islamists have done in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and other countries?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Nobel Peace Prize

I would have expected that Muhammad Yunus, who founded the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and triggered the micro-credit revolution, should have got the prize for Economics. No matter that it's the Peace Prize instead - he deserves it.

Just as you cannot impose democracy from above (see Iraq for more details...) you can impose free markets or prosperity from above either. Micro-credit works because it's bottom up, given people access to small amounts of money that they can decide how to spend. It's the perfect example of (complexity economics at work.

Why is the white working class despised?

Excellent article in the Daily Telegraph today. To paraphrase slightly, it points out that the only group that is regularly attacked in the media are the white working classes. In particular it's the liberal left who hate the working classes the most. The contempt the left feel for the white working class is most obvious in the alliances that people like the SWP have made with Islamist activists.

The article in the Telegraph is good, and not one I would expect to see in the Guardian, but it only echoes the views of people like the Independent Working Class Association. The IWCA reject the politics of multi-culturalism but from a class perspective rather than because they are racists. They, and people like them, are the true anti-racists in this country.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Not a terrorist?

Imagine the headlines - a massive haul of explosives, extremist literature, rocket launchers... But don't panic, because these people are members of the BNP. If they'd have been Asian or Arabic would the reaction have been the same? No, probably not. You don't have to be an Islamist (the last thing that anybody could accuse me of), to point out the rank hypocrisy in the way the media have been pretty much silent on this story.

Harriri Potter

This is the story of a Islamist boy wizard and his adventures. Harriri is very surprised to one day discover that there are two sorts of people in the world - Muslims and fakirs. He's even more surprised to be told that he is going to be a wizard, and is soon packed off to a very special madrassa - the Bogwartistan School For Islamic Wizardry.

His first year at Wizard school is described in the book 'Harriri Potter And The Philosophers Stoned'. Harriri joins the wizard school and in the first weeks he and his chums hear about a philosopher who casts doubt on the existence of Mohammed. The philosopher is tried and convicted by the wizards and is then stoned to death. The young wizards are also told that Quidditch is un-Islamic because Mohammed doesn't mention it in the Koran. Harriri and friends are told to read the Koran instead of playing Quidditch.

In the second book of the series 'Harriri Potter And The Chamberpot of Secretions', the young wizard begins to discover his sexuality. The teachers at his school put a stop to this and warn him that sex is bad, bad, bad. Harriri is so pissed off that he and his mates find some fakirs to attack. By this stage Harriri has discovered that there's only one piece of magic taught at his school. It's making people disappear. Usually in a blinding explosion that kills many people, including the wizard. The older wizards explain that the wizard who has disappeared has gone to a better place, where there's sex on demand. Harriri is very pleased at this.

In 'Harriri Potter And The Prisoner of Abu Ghraib', young Harriri and friends are incensed by what the fakirs do to a bunch of Muslim prisoners. Many of the young wizards perform the disappearing trick, mainly among people who have no idea what went on at Abu Ghraib, and who disapproved of it when they did find out. Also in this book Harriri's friend, Hermione is accused of immodest behaviour in showing a bare arm and is stoned to death by the other wizards.

In the fourth instalment, 'Harriri Potter Gobs In The Fire', the young wizard learns how to make the special balm that is used in the disappearing trick. He learns how to make it, strap it to himself and how to make sure the balm is bulked out with nails, bolts and other bits of metal. Harriri is also able to recite the Koran from start to finish. Having to do this stops him thinking about anything else. He feels so pissed off at having to do this that he and his friends regularly claim to be victimised by those who don't have to do it.

In 'Harriri Potter Orders A Pizza', things only get worse. Harriri and friends in the wizard school are told that pizza is un-Islamic. They are so incensed that they kidnap a fakir and behead him. They also behead a Muslim who says that Mohamed used to eat pizza all the time. Harriri can't wait to do the disappearing magic - no sex, no beer and no pizza. What's the point of carrying on, especially as the fakirs have it when they want it?

In the sixth book of the series, 'Harriri Potter And The Half-Price Prints', the young wizard helps his friend Ron ibn-Weasley perform the disappearing trick. Ron is successful and takes many fakirs and innocent Muslims with him. However, Harriri has sent the film of the trick to a cut-price photo-lab, and the half-price prints are so useless that Al-jazeera refuses to air them. Harriri is so angry he and the other wizards attack fakir embassies to complain.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Battle For Spain

Good review of Anthony Beevor's 'Battle For Spain' over at the site. Beevor's book is interesting to the extent that it exposes the despicable behaviour of the Communist Party in attacking the Anarchists. But rather than just validating much of the Anarchist critique of the Stalinists, it also points out the paralysis that meant the CNT and the Anarchists in the FAI were side-lined and defeated by the statists inside the Republic.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Climate change denial

A very thought-provoking piece by Brendan O'Neill over at spiked-online on the rampant authoritarianism and denial of debate on climate change. Anyone disagreeing on the 'consensus' is deemed a 'climate change denier' - on par with Holocaust deniers - and therefore to be silenced.

The bottom line: is global warming the first scientific theory in history which cannot be disputed? Isn't it the duty of scientists to do science and not to clamp down on the free exchange of ideas?

Increasingly I feel that the global warming debate has taken on a religious hue. Global warming is the new dogma, and in place of a God that needs to be placated we have the environment. Where men had once to bow down before an invisible and omniscient deity, now they have sacrifice economic development to appease a merciless planet that we have angered.

John 'Mustafa Pie' Prescott

In an extraordinary move deputy Prime Minister John Prescot today announced that he had adopted the veil as a statement of solidarity with Muslim women. Mr Prescott, pictured below, has criticised Jack Straw's comment that the veil is viewed as a mark of separation.

'Listen, lad,' Mr Prescott is quoted as saying, 'I can fully understand why these women hide behind the veil. I'm sick of being objectified and viewed as an object of sexual desire. Wearing this burqa allows me the privacy of wearing my cowboy outfit without fear of ridicule. And there ain't half loads of room for hiding pies and the like.'

Muslim community leaders have welcomed Mr Prescott's move, though some have questioned whether the deputy Prime Minister isn't breaking the rules my munching pork pies under his burqa.

Abu Musa Smith, (formerly Crispin Tarquin Smith), a well-known community leader had this to say: 'We demand that John Prescott decapitate Jack Straw to show the world that Islam is a peaceful religion. Only then can we take this government seriously.'

Friday, October 06, 2006

More on Kriss Donald

To those who deny that Kriss Donald was the victim of a racist attack - read the above report from the trial.

Where are those who are demanding justice for Muslim victims of racism? This poor lad was the victim of an unprovoked murder by Muslim men. I don't see anyone attacking their racism.

If this was the story of a Muslim lad attacked by white men, who kidnap, torture, kill and then set fire to the body there'd be uproar. Kriss Donald was white and working class, does that mean he's fair game?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Kriss Donald - Victim of racist murder

The trial has begun of the three men accused of the racist murder of a schoolboy in Scotland. Unlike most such crimes, this is not one that is receiving much in the way of publicity, nor will you find much on Leftist web sites. Given the horrific and brutal crime, why is it being ignored?

The answer probably lies in the fact that Kriss Donald was white and the three men accused of his racist murder are Asian.

At the time of the murder I posted about it on the IndyMedia website. The reaction was typical - I was accused of being a racist, a supporter of the BNP, and of course that I'm white (I'm not, but is that really the point?).

Now, with the trial under way there's still the same silence. Where are the condemnations of racism? Where is the spleen vented at the animals who would torture and kill their innocent victim.

The fact remains that there are lots of people who claim to be on the Left in this country who refuse to attack racist violence if the victim is white. The hypocrisy is disgusting and does nothing but drive people into the arms of scum-bags like the BNP.

Compare the silence on this case to the mass publicity in those cases where the victim isn't white. Why the difference? I can't work out whether it's fear of being labelled racist or a simple refusal to believe that black people can be as racist as whites.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Rosia Montana - Romania

Like a lot of people I'd read about the controversy over the plan to start open-cast gold mining in Rosia Montana in Romania. I'd read about the environmental disasters waiting to happen, the suffering of the people and so on. It looks like the classic case of big bad western multi-national looking to exploit the poor in another country.

Reading Kirk Leech's piece on spiked-online paints another picture. In this case the western multi-nationals are NGOs, and the people they're exploiting are those desperate residents who are hoping for the new mine to deliver work, income and investment. Instead of which the environmentalists are promising tourism (of an eco-friendly sort, no doubt), back breaking work in the fields and none of the 'bad' quality of life things we take for granted in the west.

Whether you think Leech is being as one-sided as the NGOs is open to question - but there's no doubt that the story he tells is not one that you'll be reading in the Guardian, the Ecologist or IndyMedia.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bush, Iraq, Intelligence

Big news! In the US the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is reportedly of the opinion that the war in Iraq has become a cause celebre amongst Islamists. A new generation of jihadists is being recruited on the back of the civil war that is the result of the invasion of Iraq. What's more, even more shocking is the idea that the world has become a more dangerous place because of the Iraqi quagmire.

No shit sherlock. Next they'll be telling us that bears shit in woods and that the Pope's suspected of Catholic tendencies...

None of this is news of course. Not even the fact that the Bush and Blair governments deny this and think that we're so stupid that we'll believe them.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Muslim community leaders

EXcellent piece by Kenan Malik on the way the government (and most of the media, I would add), relate to British muslims. Here's a quick quote on self-appointed community leaders:

The policy of subcontracting political responsibility allows politicians to wash their hands of the alienation of sections of the Muslim community. And it allows self-appointed community leaders with no democratic mandate to gain power both within Muslim communities and the wider society. But it does the rest of us - Muslim and non-Muslim - no favours. It is time that politicians dropped the pretence that there is a single Muslim community and started taking seriously the issue of political engagement with their constituents, whatever their religious faith.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Islamic world in uproar (yawn...)

The Vatican today admitted that it had cynically and irresponsibly courted controversy when the Pope quoted from an obscure Byzantine emperor who had criticised Islam hundreds of years ago. In a shameless attempt to appear sane and rational, Pope Benefit (the cleric formerly known as Ratzarse), had quoted from the Byzantine emperor knowing full well that the Islamic world would fit in a few more protests in it's busy schedule.

A leading Imam, Mustafa D'Ump, of the College of Islamic Studies in Cheltenham, was quoted as saying 'The characterisation of Islam as backward and vicious is entirely incorrect. Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. How many of you buggers do we have to behead before you understand that?'

Some have noted that the Pope's speech failed to mention witch-burning, the Inquistion, kiddie-fiddling and other Christian activities. Islamists have hit back by saying Christianity has lost it's way and should return to these practices if it really wants to be taken seriously.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Organic Milk Is Healthier?

A while back I asked for the evidence of the health benefits for organic food. Despite a few pointers there was no overwhelming stcks of evidence. There were plenty of claims, of course, and some work on the ecological benefits, but in terms of the health benefits... After looking around at the time, and since, it seems to me that scepticism is called for.

That same scepticism is at play in a piece on Spiked-online, which looks at the claims that organic milk is healthier than non-organic because of increased levels of omega 3 fatty acids. The article is worth reading, not only because it punctures the claims, but also because it points out that drinking milk for omega-3 is a pretty stupid (inefficient) way of getting them compared to a can of sardines or some salmon.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Free school bus pass - but only if you're religious

Yet another example of creeping state support for religious indoctrination of our kids... Is this really what it's coming to in this country?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Another government IT triumph...

Here's a template for the civil service to help in future big IT projects:

1. Establish a huge committee to discuss the project - drag this stage out for a number of years. If possible make sure that none of the people on the committee have any IT knowledge. Rotate personnel on the committee so that by the end of this stage nobody from the original committee is on it.

2. Pay massive amounts of money to big consultancy firms. Please ensure that only the most expensive and arrogant of consultants are used.

3. Dig a huge hole in the ground and bury lots more money.

4. Three years after the deadline release a prototype that looks like it was knocked up by a 13-year old hacker. Please ensure it's non-functional and has the performance and agility of John Prescott.

5. Five years after the deadline cancel the project.


While it's great to sit back and watch the government imploding, it's just a shame that it's taking so long. Those who regard Tony Blair as a visionary and decisive leader can add his original announcement that he'd not do a full 3rd term as prime minister to other such classics as the invasion of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan as good decisions.

And, to his other achievements, we should add that he's worked wonders on rebranding the Tory party as a serious and viable alternative. Nobody imagined that the Tories could ever step out from the long shadow of Maggie Thatcher and her malign influence, but our Tony has done an excellent job.

Gordon Brown, of course, must also realise that the game is up. If I were him I'd be wondering whether David Cameron has been the real beneficiary of Tony's actions.

Anyway, let's hope that Tony's suffering gets worse, fast.

IWCA & Multi-culturalism

Those of is who view the Independent Working Class Association (IWCA) as one of the few positive developments on the political scene in the UK might have been alarmed by the recent silence from them (or at least as evidenced by their web site). However the Oxford Blackbird Leys site of the IWCA has recently been updated with a number of pieces from the Leys Independent, including an article by Stuart Craft on multi-culturalism.

Not only does Craft attack multi-culturalism as encouraging racial/religious segration and difference, he also points out that it's the workling classes (of all backgrounds) who stand to lose most.

Predictably the IWCA are attacked as being racist, but the fact is that it's the politics of multi-culturalism that are racist.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

What Made Europe?

Angela Merkel says of the EU constitution: I believe this treaty should be linked to Christianity and God because Christianity was decisive in the formation of Europe

Johan Norberg, for one, begs to differ...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


There I was doing an innocent bit of research on Sufism when I come across an article on the BBC website. The first thing that strikes me, is that every mention of Allah or Mohhamed is suffixed with pbuh (peace be upon him). Why?

Do the articles on Jesus, Buddha or anyone else have a similar suffix? Nope.

Does the suffix add anything informational to the article? Nope.

It's bad enough that the BBC is a bastion of political correctness. It's bad enough that the corporation acts as one big propaganda machine for religion. But now it special cases Islam for fear of giving offence - as usual bending over backwards to appease those who bleat on endlessly about 'Islamophobia'.

As far as the BBC goes it's not 'Islamophobic', it suffers (like a lot of the 'cultural' left), from a severe case of 'Islamophilia'.

It's crap.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Ruth Kelly - Religious Scum

Sometimes words just fail me... Listening to Ruth Kelly talking about the new Commission on Integration and Cohesion made me want to scream. Aside from the fact that the poisonously racist ideology of Multi-culturalism has been largely sponsored by the Labour Party over the last thirty years, it's hard to take when she refuses to even admit the possibility that state funding of 'faith-based' schools will make the problems worse.

How can segregating kids according to religion do anything to foster 'cohesion and integration'? It's like saying that apartheid encouraged respect for different races...

But then both Kelly and Blair are religious zealots. How could a member of Opus Dei do anything but support religious extremism?

I never thought I'd see the day when I hated a government as much as Margaret Thatcher's - but that day has long passed. They are scum.

How many seats does the European Parliament need?

It costs European taxpayers approximately 200 million euros a year to move the Parliament between Brussels/Belgium and Strasbourg/France. As a citizen of the European Union, I want the European Parliament to be located only in Brussels.

Yep. Totally ridiculous and a huge waste of resources (which pretty much describes what a lot of the EU does...). However, that's money that could easily be saved - sign the online petition to force this before the European Commission. The organisers are looking for a million signatures - they've got 900 000 so far.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Get yer fatwas out!

There's a typically robust potted history of Islam from issue 90 of Class War over on the a-infos site. It's a welcome change to see such forthright secularist/atheist views, particularly compared with the insects of the SWP/Respect and others on the so-called left.

Do You Submit?
Class War takes a critical look at the world's fastest growing

Islam: A History
Islam means 'submission'. Submission of your whole existence to
what your god decrees. It was thought up by the supporters of a
seventh century Arabian gangster in order to consolidate their
criminal organisation's hold over the region. It is followed by over a
billion people on this planet.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Amartya Sen - Against Faith Schools

Nice article on Amartya Sen (Nobel prize winning economist and moral philosopher of note), on the government's policy in encouraging faith schools. While not going all out to call for completely secular education, Sen prefers the idea of christian schools rather than Islamic, Hindu, Sikh etc. What he seems to value in christian schools is tolerance, diversity of ideas and a tendency not to obviously indoctrinate. In other words what he likes most in christian schools is the lack of religion...

The values he supports are what you would expect from a secular education. There are certainly christian schools run by some of the more strict sects (no evolution, the bible is the literal word of God etc), which have all of the faults that he associates with Islamic and other faith schools.

Let's hope that someone, somewhere sees sense enough to put a stop to the continuing advance of divisive and dangerous faith schools.

Enough is enough - religion is poison, let's not forget that.

Israel's 'new Middle East'

Excellent article on the anarchist a-infos newswire on the current Israeli war on the Lebanon. Written by an Israeli, Professor Tanya Reinhart, it punctures the lies of the Israeli government and its allies in the US and UK.

Also worth pointing out is that unlike most other sections of the 'left', the class struggle stream of anarchism has not adopted the 'we must support Hezbullah' line. Sticking to class and secularist principles, they've instead attacked Israel for what it's doing, but also criticised the Islamist movements for their reactionary, racist and sexist policies. The contrast between groups as disparate as Class War and the French CNT on the one hand, and the different flavours of Leninists and Trotskyists is striking.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

More Israeli war crimes

As if slaughtering hundreds of civilians and attempting to destroy the civilian infrastructure of the Lebanon is not enough... Israel attacks the and kills UN observers too.

Bush-Blair conference

By dint of some advanced technology, the Progressive Contrarian has managed to get hold of a transcript of a private discussion between George Bush and Tony Blair at Camp David. The following is verbatim:

Bush: Blair, that you?
Blair: Yes, Mr President.
Bush: How's it hanging, Blair?
Blair: Good, sir. And you?
Bush: Not good. This Lebanon thing is bad news.
Blair: Yes, sir, I agree.
Bush: I'm thinking we gotta make some kind of statement to world.
Blair: Absolutely, sir.
Bush: I'm thinking we bomb Iran till they agree to stop all that shit.
Blair: Iran, sir? But it's the Lebanon that's being bombed.
Bush: Ain't that the capital of Iran?
Blair: No, sir, Mr President. It's another country altogether.
Bush: Shit, this sure is complicated.
Blair: Perhaps we should issue some kind of verbal statement?
Bush: That's good, I like that idea, Blair.
Blair (blushing): Thank you, sir.
Bush: OK. How's this... We think, in this time of war, we need less bombs and missiles being used.
Blair: I think you mean fewer rather than less.
Bush: What?
Blair: The correct form of words should be 'fewer bombs and missiles'
Bush: Gee, you sure do talk like a girl, Blair. But OK. And we want all sides to get together and agree on doing whatever it takes to keep us happy. I mean, there's too much people getting killed in Israel...
Blair: Too many.
Bush: What?
Blair: Not too much, it's too many.
Bush: Whatever. What d'you think, Blair? That enough?
Blair: That's very good, sir. So long as you accept the substantive contributions that her majesty's government has just made.
Bush: Sure, you want to word it like a sissy I'm willing to go ahead with. By the way, my laundry done?
Blair: Yes, sir. Three shirts, two jackets and a pair of socks. Do you think we should involve someone else?
Bush: Like who?
Blair: Yes, that's a good idea.
Bush: What?
Blair: Getting Hu involved, excellent. And what about Kofi? And Putin?
Bush: What? Coffee? Pudding? What the hell you talking about Blair?
Blair: Nothing, sir.
Bush: Now that you mention it, some coffee and a cake is a good idea. And how about you give another foot massage?
Blair (blushing): Yes, sir. You want another toe job while I'm at it?
Bush: Sure, but this time wait till I take my boots off.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Thorium-powered nuclear reactors?

Very interesting article on the Australian cosmos magazine web site. It describes an alternative form of nuclear reactor that doesn't depend on Uranium or Plutonium, but which uses the element Thorium. Not only does the Thorium reactor not produce weapons-grade plutonium, it can also be used to burn plutonium, effectively getting rid of one of the most dangerous and long-lived substances known to man.

Furthermore, the waste produced by a Thorium reactor is relatively short-lived compared to plutonium (ie it has a half life of around 500 years compared to 10000 years for plutonium). Thorium is also more abundant, easier to mine and doesn't have to go through expensive and dangerous processing before it can be used in a reactor.

It all sounds too good to be true - if it's so great why aren't all new reactors thorium powered? Firstly there are still some technical issues to resolve - but they're being worked on. Secondly there's an entrenched nuclear industry that has a vested interest in continuing with current technology. And finally, of course there seem to be no military spin-offs from this technology.

For those of us who are against the current generation of nuclear power this new technology might seem like more of the same old same old. But there are real benefits, if this article is to be believed. Firstly thorium reactors can be used to get rid of plutonium from spent power rods or disabled nuclear weapons. Secondly it breaks that whole military connection and finally, it looks like it provides for the cheap energy that the developing world so desperately needs.

There's a lot of promise here. A mixed fuel economy that includes cellulosic ethanol, solar, wind, fuel cells and thorium nuclear reactors looks pretty sustainable to me.

Friday, July 21, 2006

10 Good Reasons Why Margaret Beckett Is An Excellent Foreign Secretary

10 Good Reasons Why Margaret Beckett Is An Excellent Foreign Secretary

1. She does as the Prime Minister tells her.
2. She can point to the United States on a world atlas, unaided.
3. She has been on holiday abroad.
10. She's not John Prescott

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Israeli War Crimes

If it was any other country our government would have been talking about war crimes and ethnic cleansing. Apparently Israel can pretty much do as it pleases and get away with it. Destroying the civilian infrastructure, killing hundreds of civilians and generally trying to wreck a sovereign state can be justified on the grounds that two of it's soldiers were kidnapped.

For starters Israel's attack will strengthen Hizbullah, not weaken it. It will also probably lead to the collapse of the secular authorities. Perhaps a sectarian civil war is what Israel really wants for Lebanon.

Hizbullah and the Israeli state, they're made for each other.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

God Hates Shrimp

What a perfect riposte to the fascist godhatesfags campaign...

Guaranteed to offend the religious - particularly those who like to quote Leviticus against the 'abomination' of gay sex.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Clean coal technologies

Good 30-second intro to clean coal technologies at the BBC.

Coal can be a clean technology - but what it depends on are miners to get at the coal in the first place. Given that one of the big reasons that mining was downplayed was because of the militancy of the miners, it remains to be seen how much a government is going to want to go back to mining.

Yet again nuclear is attractive to governments for non-technical reasons - it's easier to control and there are no pesky class war militants to deal with...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tony Blair - Energy policy

That Tony Blair energy policy statement in full:

Yes, we've gone for the nuclear option. The world has changed radically since the last energy review. At that time the situation was very different. Today it's different again. And tomorrow it might also be different. But. For the sake of our children we need to face the facts. Climate change. Global warming. Environmental change. Energy security. Climate change. We can't ignore the unpleasant realities. So. This government, my government, has to be bold and take the decisions that only we can take.

There are some who will claim that this policy change is a U-turn. Nothing can be further from the truth. Our commitment is to renewables. Solar. Wind. Wave. Nuclear. There are those who claim that we have reneged on our ideals. I say, what ideals? There are those who say that we are going for the nuclear option because it affirms my virility. They say that governments like big projects, wars, mass destruction. But I ask you, all of you, do you really think that a government that's invaded Iraq, and which is at war in Afghanistan, really needs nuclear power stations to make it seem tough and in control? It's not as if we need to resort to having senior government politicians romping in cowboy suits, is it?

No. We remain committed to do what's best for this government. The nuclear option will be part of my legacy. A bunch of windmills are for pansies. New Labour. Are not afraid. You probably should be.

Friday, July 07, 2006

John Prescott - The Truth

There's so much rumour and innuendo floating around John Prescott that the man is in danger of being simply dismissed as a waste of space. This would be as unfair as suggesting that this government has no coherent strategy beyond responding to the latest set of headlines.

The truth of the matter is that John Prescott plays vital role for British industry. It was in this capacity that he visited the ranch of American billionaire Phillip Anschutz. Mr Anschutz, an extremely rich billionaire, has a wide range of business interests: oil, film, casinos, telecommunications and lard. It is in connection with the latter that he consulted with John Prescott, who has single handedly kept the British lard industry alive in recent years.

Mr Anschutz, who in addition to being extremely rich is also a billionaire, refuses to be interviewed on the subject of lard, but many in the industry believe that he is keen on developing one of America's largest natural resources. John 'lardy' Prescott is a world expert on the subject, and was said to be discussing the aphrodisiac qualities of lard with a number of lady friends.

Sources at Downing Street refused to rule out the option of officially making Prescott the country's 'Lard Tsar'. They also categorically stated that Mr Prescott is not interested in milking his job for all it's worth. 'John Prescott', an unnamed spokesman declared, 'is rolling in cash already, why would he be sniffing around a billionaire? Have you seen his expenses claims recently?'

Any suggestions of impropriety have been by firmly denied. When quizzed, Downing St spokesmen pointed out that the strange whiff emanating from government is not the whiff of decadence or sleaze, it's just plain old fashioned bullshit.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Crime and Punisment (Part 1)

Where are the fresh thinking and innovative ideas on crime and punishment? All of the political parties are making big plays on crime at the moment, but for the most part it's just posturing. Yes, chaps and chapesses, we all know that you're tough on crime. Yes, we all know that it's the other side who are soft on crime. But come on, where are the new ideas coming from?

As a starter here's some fresh thinking on crime, direct from the Progressive Contrarian:

1. Young muggers, vandals and other miscreants should have their expensive designer trainers confiscated and replaced with Tesco Value trainers. Anyone sentenced to this punishment and caught wearing other trainers will be further sentenced to wearing a complete Tesco Value outfit.

2. Muggers who steal mobile phones should be fitted with a collar containing a mobile phone jamming device for a specified period. In order not to impinge on their human rights, and in order to give them access to the phone network in emergencies, they will be issued with a BT phone card.

3. Young male sex offenders should be forced to wear pink outfits, wear lipstick and stilletto heels. Furthermore they should be forced to leave the house every day wearing this outfit. Serious offenders should be sentenced to prison wearing this type of outfit.

4. Vandals should be forced to build a replica of the Eiffel Tower using matchsticks and super glue. They will be given detailed instructions and a set time to build it (say two hours). If the period expires without the model being completed it will be trashed by an OAP and the process has to begin again.

Hopefully these suggestions will set the ball rolling. If it's true that prison doesn't work then perhaps it's time to look at some punishments that will really strike fear into the heart of a machismo youth culture that sees 'respect' as everything.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Aside from the fact that the good Archbishop means 'Christianophobia' (christophobia means fear of christ, which is different to fear of christians), this is pure paranoia. A good chunk of our government are born again christians (starting with Tony Blair himself). And as for the US government...

There's a good review of 'The End of Faith' over at the London Book The point is clear, tolerating religion is like tolerating belief in the flat earth. Sure, people can believe it if they want, but surely they don't expect any respect because of it?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Power walking

Now this I do like a lot - an alternative power source that utilises the kinetic energy of people walking to generate electricity. Neat. Also neat is this story about using urine as a source of low-current power for medical devices.

Not so neat are the growing levels of hype in favour of nuclear power. With parts of the 'green' movement switching to supporting the nuclear option, the government is slowly but surely heading in the pro-nuclear direction. And the latest headline green to rethink the nuclear option is none other than George Monbiot. In a piece for the LA Times he comes out in favour of nukes as a way of stopping the advance of coal.

With influential figures like him swapping sides it will be interesting to see how the movement against nuclear energy develops.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Cellulosic Ethanol

Excellent article on this over at Environmental Science & Technology Online. Things are looking better on this technology all the time. If the technical hurdles can be overcome then this makes the future look a lot rosier than it could be.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A criminal absence of logic

Just found the above article on timesonline. It's an op-ed piece by Jamie Whyte (author of Bad Thoughts: A Guide to Clear Thinking) , on the relationship between crime and imprisonment. He's partly right in attributing high-imprisonment with a reduction in crime, but there's more to it than that, as Steven Levitt showed in Freakonomics.

Still, it's an interesting and amusing read and well worth seeking out.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Animals are less valuable than human beings

Excellent piece in Spiked-online about medical research on animals. Not for the first time Spiked leads the way in arguing for human superiority and for scientific research. Even the vexed question on research on primates is tackled head on - yes, we should be able to experiment on primates if the research is important enough. Nobody wants to use apes for finding heart burn drugs or for cosmetics.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Knife crime

Good article by Shaun Bailey in the Telegraph today. Writing about the kids he works with on estates in West London, he describes a situation where carrying a knife is the norm, and using it is common-place. The knife amnesty that the police have just launched is a fairly pointless exercise for the cameras. The people most likely to hand in a weapon are those least likely to use it.

What to do about it? Unfortunately there are no easy answers, no matter what politicians would like us to think. A simple step, however, might be to make searches for weapons a routine part of contact between the police and teenage boys (and girls). Anytime that the police have to deal with these kids, whether it's because someone's made a complaint or because the police are suspicious, then there should be a search for weapons. And if a weapon is found then it should be prosecution - with repeat offences warranting increasing sanctions.

If there's a high risk of being caught and the sanctions get increasingly harsh then you'll reach a point where it becomes too 'expensive' to go out with a knife. That's what we should be aiming for. If the risk of getting caught is low, and the sanction not very onerous then carrying a knife is a 'cheap' option.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

London desalination plant

Today sees the start of a public inquiry on a water desalination plant for London. This was originally proposed by Thames Water and approval was given by Newham council. However London's Mayor, Ken Livingstone, with Green Party support, overturned the decision on the grounds that it would cause an increase in C02 emissions. Now, Thames Water are appealing the decision, arguing that the plant is necessary to supply London and the south east.

Ken Livingstone, and the Green Party come to that, disapprove because they feel we should be cutting back on water usage, cutting back on power consumption and generally leaving less of a 'footprint'. Yes, it would be good to improve fuel efficiency - but only because it means we can continue to use the power we need. Yes we need to improve London's water infrastructure, but that doesn't solve the water problem.

Human progress depends on increasing energy consumption and on a ready supply of clean water. We can get both of these through the use of new technologies. We shouldn't be stopping progress in its tracks. Going backwards won't solve global warming and the other environmental problems we face.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Going nuclear

Predictably Tony Blair has come out strongly in favour of nuclear energy. Forget the energy review from 3 years ago (it got the answer wrong, so the government has convened a second one in the hope that they get the nuclear answer right...). Forget the £70 billion decommissioning cost of the existing nuclear power stations. Forget also that long term storage of waste hasn't been solved...

The sudden note of urgency doesn't make much sense, even with the Russians, Venezualans, Iranians and others flexing their energy muscles. Nuclear doesn't drive cars or provide gas for domestic heating or cooking. Neither does the global warming argument stack up.

The best answers to energy use and carbon emissions are micro-generation, renewables and increasing energy efficiency. Why are these not attractive to governments, particularly to centralising governments like Tony Blair's? Because they are decentralised, small scale and don't provide the government with the testosterone rush that huge centrally controlled projects provide. Like unreconstructed Stalinists, centralising governments of all persuasions are fatally attracted to 'prestigious' monuments - such as huge dams and nuclear power stations.

Whatever the reasoning, the move towards nuclear will be a disastrous mistake.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A small step in the right direction

The decision by the Nigerian senate to throw out a bill to change the constitution allowing the sitting president to seek a third term is a good one. The more that can be done to fight against African 'big man' politics the better. It's a curse that afflicts the continent and holds it back. Gangsterism, nepotism, bureaucratic overload, all these are linked to the cult of the African 'big man'. Of course there's still a danger that the decision gets reversed, or that the army will setp in, but for now it sends the message that 'presidents for life' are not welcome.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Animal research: extremists are not the problem

Those of us who support vivisection need to realise that the real problem is not a minority of extremists. The problem is that we live in a society that refuses to recognise the moral good of research on animals.

Excellent article from Spiked Online, commenting on Tony Blair's opportunism on the medical research argument.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Lame ducks and animal experiments

Sad to hear that Tony Blair has seen fit to sign the People's Petition in favour of medical research on animals. Now more than ever I'm in favour of experiments on lame ducks as a matter of priority.

Personally, I'm sure that there are plenty of animal liberationists who are more than pleased with Blair's intervention. I would rather he kept his mouth shut or, better still, came out as a closet supporter of the Animal Liberation Front. I can see it now, fighting to save bunnies in labs while bombing the hell out of Iraq...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Academic freedom of speech...

Not, not Frank Ellis again. This time it's someone who's upset vegetarians with his humour. Is this part of the government's 'respect' agenda?

Repeat after me: we have freedom of speech so long as we don't use it...

Animal 'Liberationists' caged...

When I read about the jailing of some of the animal 'liberationists' involved in the horrendous campaign against the guinea pig farm owned by the Hall family, my honest reaction is simple. Good. Let the bastards rot in jail. Not PC or very liberal I know, but there you are.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Good review of the extremely interesting 'Freakonomics' over at If you haven't read it yet, it's a book worth recommending, as this review makes abundantly clear.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Brian Haw and civil liberties

Brian Haw has been demonstrating against the Iraq war since 2 June 2001. His one-man stand in Parliament Square is has been incredible, and a pain in the arse to the government and police since the day he started. He has fought off arrest and legal challenges and has managed to remain in place, a visible and constant reminder of the government's deeply unpopular policy. Having beaten off the last lot of legal challenges, the Home Office has won on appeal and it looks like he may be forced to leave.

His case highlights not just the war in Iraq, but also the steady and constant erosion of civil liberties.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Respect and the BNP

Predictably there's been lots of comment on the relative success of the BNP - particularly in Barking and Dagenham, where Margaret Hodge did such a fine job in upping their support - but there's been less said about the success of Respect. Some of the Left will be cheered by the successes Respect acheived in places like Tower Hamlets.

However, those of us opposed to racism and multiculturalism there's little reason to celebrate. Respect have succeeded by become the Islamic party by proxy. By and large they did best in those seats with large Muslim populations. In effect we are seeing a further polarisation of tribal politics, with the white working class heading in the direction of the BNP, and the Muslim community flocking to Respect. It's multiculturalism writ large - politics defined by identity.

How to get people to vote BNP

Tell firemen in Barking that they can't fly the St George's cross during the world cup because it might offend ethnic minorities. Have any ethnic minorities complained? No. Has anyone other than the self-appointed guardians of multi-culturalism (i.e. the middle class liberal establishment), complained? No.

As a non-white Briton do I feel aggrieved when I see the St George's flag? No. Do any of my family or friends - of all ethnic groups - feel put out by the sight of the England flag? No.

I can't help but wonder how many of those firemen went out and voted for the 11 BNP councillors in Barking and Dagenham.

If I was a conspiracy theorist I'd be convinced that the Labour party and it's natural allies in local government are deliberately driving people to support fascism.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Manifesto Club

I'm sure conspiracy theorists in some parts of the green/left movement will soon be attacking the recently announced Manifesto Club as a cover for ex-RCPers, in much the same way as they attack spiked-online. However taking it on face value it looks like an interesting idea, and certainly worth keeping an eye on.

Council Elections - May 4th

For many of us the most interesting thing about todays council elections in England and Wales will not be how Labour's share of the vote holds up. It won't even be about Cameron's impact on the Tory vote. No, the most interesting thing will be how well the BNP do. Given the massive amounts of media coverage that the BNP have achieved - and let's face it the party could never have imagined that they would get such good coverage - it will be interesting to see if they actually make a break-through. Nick Griffin has done everything to paint the BNP as a moderate nationalist organisation, he's been very successful in presenting himself as the acceptable face of fascism. And with the liberal establishment lined up to oppose him he's the natural recipient of the protest vote.

At the same time, it will be interesting to see how George Galloway's Respect does. They've not had the same publicity as the BNP, but that's because nobody really imagines that they are anything but a one-trick pony. The same cannot be said of the Independent Working Class Association (IWCA), who represent the best that the left have got to offer. The IWCA and groups like the Hackney Independent deserve to prosper, just as the BNP deserves to be ignored.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

BNP - Left, Right or what?

Norman Tebbit's recent spate of letters to the Daily Telegraph taking to task those who describe the BNP as 'right wing' have caused a bit of a stir. He's firmly of the opinion that the BNP is a 'left-wing' party, and he cites their policies on globalisation, nationalisation and other 'left' sounding issues. Those who attack him for this clearly betray a lack of historical knowledge. Not only has classical fascism (including both Italian and German Nazi varieties), always had a 'socialist' wing, post-war neo-fascism has continued the tradition. Strasserite fascism has been influential in the far-Right for a long time, including the National Front and other organisations that BNP leader Nick Griffin been involved.

Anti-fascists claim that this 'left' rhetoric from the likes of the BNP is just a clever ruse to lure the workers to fascism. They're wrong, the 'left' policies are genuine enough, they are core components of fascism ideology.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Don't vote, apathise...

Every election brings out the same old anarchist 'no vote' campaigns - though to be honest campaign is putting it too strongly, usually it's a case of a few stickers, a poster or some grafitti. The old slogan of 'Don't Vote, Organise!' would be sound if only it were true. In the real world the fact is that it's 'don't vote, apathise'. Not only does encouraging voter apathy feed into the general cynicism about politics - and that includes radical 'anti'-politics as much as it does Nu Lab, Tories and the rest - it also encourages the feeling that we're powerless to resist or change things.

When it comes to council elections this apathy makes even less sense. While it's true that local councils have been rendered almost powerless by the relentless authoritarianism and centralising tendencies of successive Tory and Labour governments, local councils are still closer to most people than what goes on in Westminster. If there's a chance to make a splash it's here. If we want to reconnect people's interest in change then it's here.

Encouraging apathy and cynicism is ultimately self-defeating. Do we really want people to believe that they have no power to make a difference?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The People's Petition

The People's Petition is a web petition for those in favour of medical research using animals to register their support. A spin-off from the Coalition for Medical Progress, it's an excellent way for people to show that they oppose the anti-vivisectionists who monopolise the discussion on animal experimentation.

Usually any discussion of 'the silent majority' makes me suspicious, but in this case it's probably warranted. Militant animal liberationists have forced people into silence, it's good that people are finally starting to stand up for medical research.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

No2ID - Pasport protest in the making

Quick note on the No2ID campaign against the ID cards being sneaked in by the government.

A quick quote:

Guy Herbert, general secretary of No2ID, said: "If everyone renews their passport now, that inconveniences their plans to get everyone on the register."

Greens and Blues

Listening to Darren Johnson, a spokesperson for the UK Green Party, on the radio this morning was a pretty depressing experience. He was talking about a possible complaint to the electoral commission because of the conservative party's new slogan - Vote Blue, Go Green. This would be, according to the Green party, confusing to voters.

Why is this depressing? Because it reveals that even a minor party like the Greens thinks voters are morons. Forget arguments about policies that matter. What's important is voting for a party not a policy. And because we are all so stupid we'll get confused and vote Tory thinking we're really voting for the Green party.

And then politicians wonder why the public feels alienated from politics...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Chernobyl deaths?

As the BBC report says, reading the UN/IAEA report on Chernobyl deaths to that produced by Greenpeace is like comparing chalk and cheese. The scope of the two reports is different:
  • the UN looks at the surrounding area, Greenpeace looks at all of Europe
  • the UN looks just at cancer deaths, Greenpeace looks at all deaths
There's no need to resort to conspiracy theories to explain the differences, all that's needed is an explanation of the different scope and definitions. However, that didn't stop the pro-nuclear lobby from trumpeting that nuclear power isn't so dangerous after all when the low figure of 4000 extra deaths was first reported.

And no doubt they won't complain when anti-nuclear campaigners seize on the highest figures (200 000) to show that nuclear power is very dangerous

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

In Defence of Global Capitalism

There's a good review of Johan Norberg's superb book over at the London Book Reading this book had a profound influence - it's one of those books that makes you rethink things. It's written with the sort of passion that you'd normally associate with anti-capitalists. It's radical, intelligent and... Why not read the review, or better still read the book.

Humans = Bacteria

Interesting post at the Citizen Scientist site. Good to see that at least one 'ecologist' makes explicit the anti-human thrust of green ideology. These people are so full of self-hatred and loathing of the human race that they believe that wiping out humanity is the best thing that we can do for the planet.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Nuclear Power, No Thanks?

There's a head of steam (if you'll pardon the pun) building up in favour of nuclear power. Global warming has breathed new life into the campaign to persuade us that the nuclear option is essential.

Two things we should still keep in mind. Firstly the dangers inherent in nuclear power - and the on-going discussion of the long-term effect of Chrnobyl is a salutory reminder of this.

The second is the recent report about the £70billion cost of decommissioning nuclear power stations in the UK.

I certainly don't subscribe to the notion that we need to massively cut back on energy consumption - if we want prosperity and peace in the world we need more power not less. But that doesn't mean we should ignore the dangers of nuclear energy. There are plenty of other technologies to be developed - from fuel cells to bio-diesel to ethanol.

That old slogan of 'Nuclear Power, No Thanks', well, it might need dusting off. Though this time it's likely that there'll be plenty of 'ecologists' on the pro-nuclear side of the argument.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

More animal testing required...

Good article on spiked-online about drug testing on people and animals. The recent events are Northwick Park are big news precisely because drug tests on people rarely go so badly wrong. Rather predictably the animal liberation lobby is seizing on this to argue that drug testing on animals isn't effective. That's rubbish. If anything it shows that type of treatment being tested (monoclonal antibodies) needs more vigorous testing on animals, particularly on primates.

Ultimately drug testing is dangerous, and unless you view animal and human lives as equivalent then there's no choice but to test on animals. The truth is, however, that there are some among the vociferous animal liberation lobby who value animal lives more highly than their own species.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Organic food - where's the evidence?

As a long-time consumer of organic food I was finally stung into looking for some evidence of positive health benefits by recently reading Bjorn Lomborg's excellent 'The Skeptical Environmentalist'. I took it as self-evident that organic food was healthier. And the benefits are touted everywhere by organic farming advocates and those interested in complementary medicine and nutrition.

So where's the evidence?

I admit I'm at a loss to find anything whatsoever. I've looked for scientific papers rather than simple assertions of 'fact'. I've looked at the Soil Association and other pro-organic bodies and groups. There's none. Lots of stuff against GM food, some stuff on benefits to the environment, but nothing on the benefits to human health.

I don't want to feel conned, I don't want to feel like I've been taken for a ride. If anybody knows of a credible paper on the benefits of organic eating then please post a reference or a link.

Monday, April 03, 2006

State funding of political parties

Given that the revelations about 'loans', cash for peerages and other dodgy financial transactions are big news, the idea that state funding of political parties is a way of making politicians clean is once more on the agenda. Is it me, or does the idea of paying politicians to keep honest a complete nonsense?

Looking around at the countries which do fund poltical parties doesn't fill me with confidence. France, Germany, Italy...all countries with poor records when it comes to political corruption and scandal.

What's more, how is this supposed to make the public more interested and engaged in politics? Paying for it with our taxes doesn't make me engaged, it makes me enraged. If politicians are really interested in making politics relevant than they should give back power, not stuff their faces deeper into the trough.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Power politics: Thatcher and Pol Pot

These days Indymedia makes me want to scream more than anything else. It epitomises the mire in which the contemporary 'anarchist' movement has become embedded. Most days Indymedia is home to animal liberationists, conspiracy theorists, post-modernists embroiled in identity politics and apologists for Islamists and other authoritarians (but it's OK so long as they hail from a minority group). Criticism of any of these is likely to get you labelled a fascist or a racist (which is pretty rich given my ethnic background...).

Anyway, for the first time in ages there's a post worth reading. It's angry, amusing, humane and pointed. Worth reading.

Frank Ellis and free speech

Just seen an excellent article about Frank Ellis - the Leeds University lecturer with the race and IQ fixation. Written by one of his former students, it makes the obvious but important point that views which are regarded as repugnant should be criticised and debated, not silenced and attacked. Free speech means so little to many 'liberals' and 'leftists' that they want to stifle debate rather than encourage it. Free speech is only free when we are prepared to engage with those we disagree with - from Frank Ellis to Holocaust deniers like David Irving to Islamic fundamentalists.

The End of Oil

Interesting review of the End of Oil,by Paul Roberts, over at the London Book Review . To quote from the review:

Here the positive spin that some green politicians put on things is exposed for what it is. There are some solid alternative technologies available, from solar to wind to hydrogen fuel cells, but the task of slotting these in as direct replacements to oil is next to impossible. There's little doubt that hydrogen is the economy of the future, but how we get to that future is not certain. Roberts proposes that natural gas is the bridge between the current fossil fuels and the next energy economy

Of course given the recent issues with natural gas, it looks like the transition period has already started, and it's going to get rockier...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

IT disasters and ID cards

Interesting to read more about the latest in a long line of government IT disasters - this time it's the £6.2billion NHS system. I can remember talking to people in the NHS who work in IT and they were predicting disaster a couple of years ago.

It's all the more worrying when you think that the government pretty much got what it wanted on ID cards. Despite talk of 'compromise' the government has finally got it's own way again. All this despite not having any real justification of why we need ID cards. And of course there's going to be a huge - and costly - IT disaster waiting in the wings for this too.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Peter Tatchell and free expression

There have been more verbal attacks on the Freedom of Expression march, mainly from so-called left-wingers and Islamists. Despite the efforts of the organisers to distance themselves from racists like the BNP, there's no satisfying the 'left'. It's increasingly clear that they have no interest in freedom of speech.

Peter Tatchell has written a good defence of his involvement with the demonstration on his web-site. Predictably his integrity is being questioned on places like indymedia...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

New Labour - budget and strategy

The latest UK budget shows no sign that Labour's statism is being tempered in any way. A huge expansion of the state bureaucracy is a typical feature of many developing countries. In part it's a legacy of statist thinking from ex-Marxists, and more importantly, it allows corrupt governments to hand out favours, to build up constituencies of support from those who come to depend on the bureaucracy for jobs and support.

It's not about delivering services to the public. If it were then we'd not be creating non-jobs, handing out huge contracts to consultants and forever expanding the layers of management and control. The first rule of any bureaucracy is to defend it's existence and to expand as much as it can. That's what the state does. Despite Lenin's catchy slogan the state does not 'wither away' - ever.

Labour have got themselves a win-win strategy. If they expand the public sector then they hope that will buy them votes. If they lose the next election then any new government that tries to slim down the bureaucracy can be attacked for slashing public services. Either way, Labour come off as the defenders of public services. The unions and what remains of the Left will fall into line like sheep. No doubt the 'vote Labour with no illusions' slogan will be dusted off again...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A small victory

Shabina Begum has lost her appeal to the Lords against the ruling that her school was right to demand that she wear approved uniformed rather than the jilbab. This fight had little to do with religious freedom - her school has a uniform policy that clearly meets the needs of all the other Muslim pupils. Begum was pushing things to the extreme and quite rightly the school won.

The most interesting aspect of the whole story is the degree to which leading members of the establishment, including Cherie Blair, supported Begum. Again it just prompts the question, where is this Islamophobia that's supposed to be sweeping the country?

March For Free Expression

Interesting to see that some people people on Indymedia have condemned the forthcoming March For Free Expression (London, Saturday 25th), as racist and islamophobic. It seems that they've chosen to forget libertarianism and secularism - both corner stones of 'classical' anarchism - rather than risk offending Islamistsm or face the accusation of being Islamophobic. Personally I see little difference between their attitude and that of the reptiles in the SWP/Respect.

Thankfully civil libertarians like Peter Tatchell take liberty and free expression much more seriously.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Religious tolerance?

I suppose one shouldn't be surprised that the next British monarch completely fails to mention freedom of speech. Instead we have another insipid plea for religious tolerance. Sickening. We have so much tolerance in the West that none of our so-called leaders dares to actually stand up and make a vigorous defence of free speech and thought. This doesn't foster tolerance, it fosters resentment against those who attack our freedoms.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Paper recycling?

Why recycle paper? Is this a policy that now needs looking at again? Paper can be pelleted and turned into a fuel with a good calorific value. Surely we should be using these pellets with clean burn technology as a power generating source.

And planting fast-growing trees for paper makes sense for CO2 absortion, particularly if we can use the wood waste for ethanol production as well.

Africa - Shackled Continent

Almost finished reading 'Shackled Continent', by former Economist Africa correspondent Robert Guest. It's a lively, readable but depressing account of the state of sub-Saharan Africa. The usual litany of war, disease, poverty and corruption are detailed throughout the book. There are vivid accounts from different countries, from South Africa to Cameroon to Rwanda and Zimbabwe.

Guest doesn't take the easy way out and pin the blame squarely on rapacious Western coporates and governments. Nor does he paint Africa as a continent full of victims waiting to be rescued from poverty by enlightened Westerners. What he does make clear is that Africa's curse is a surfeit of statism. The African peoples have been saddled with governments that were as bad, and often much worse, than the colonial powers that were there before. Corruption, rampant bureaucracies run as personal fiefdoms, tribalism encouraged by venal politicians, and endless wars have kept Africa poor, sick and barely limping along.

As an antidote to the guilt-ridden breast-beating of many Western liberals, the book makes a clear case that development and freedom go hand in hand. And, just as importantly, freedom means economic as well as political freedom. Without the freedom to trade, to work and to kick out corrupt regimes, Africas peaoples are doomed to life support in perpetuity.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

George Monbiot, ethanol and new fuels

George Monbiot was on the radio a day or so ago discussing the increasing use of ethanol and bio-diesel. As an environmentalist was he pleased at the prospect of replacing fossil fuels with renewables? Absolutely not. He went into great details about the problems that might possibly occur when we grow crops for fuel – even though the prospects for cellulosic ethanol (which uses waste bio matter, such as corn stalks, wood chips etc) are looking very positive.

In the course of the interview it became clear that nothing would satisfy Monbiot except for us to cut back on the use of energy. New forms of energy seem to be of no interest, only getting people to stop travelling would work. Any sane person would agree that developing new sources of energy is essential, and that energy use has to go up if we want people across the world to share the benefits that we have in the west. Is there any better way to characterise Monbiot than to call him and his like reactionary and anti-human?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Hello. Some content will arrive shortly. In the mean time, here's a tune...