Sunday, 31 January 2010

Life in Leith

Queuing in the parky local newsagents earlier today with my Sunday newspapers, the customer in front of me; a pensioner dressed in her Church clobber, right up to the hat and HRH handbag - bible in hand, passed her carefully selected purchases to the sales assistant. I stared with incredulity as I took in her choice of fare; the purchase comprising 4 cans of Carlsberg Special Brew - turning and seeing the look on my face she fixed me with a cheery smile and said "I've hid my god fur the week, this is my devil".

Carlsberg, probably the best reason to attend church...

Friday, 29 January 2010

Watch out there are bloggers about...

On my return from a head-clearing wander around Leith on Monday morning, the only weekday time when you can be sure of a hassle free amble, I was passed by a panda car leaving the cul-de-sac.

When a police car appears in my quiet corner of Leith it is usually of some significance; the last time the boys in blue were in the locale, some time ago, it was at the behest of my neighbour who had his motorcycle hoisted into the back of a panel van in the early hours and whisked off; to wherever stolen motorcycles are taken to be given a new identity or broken up.  The subsequent statement taking and promises of a thorough enquiry resulting in nothing more than a risible insurance payout and a hike in his insurance premiums that rendered future bike ownership an unaffordable dream - 6 months on he has no bike and the joys of public transport to console him.

Back to Monday's panda car departure - Imagine my surprise when I found a little yellow note, an 'MP19' Police Message, with a business card attached, pushed through my letterbox.  On scrutiny it appeared that a Sergeant would like me to help him with an 'Enquiry'; two wrongly routed telephone calls through the astonishingly incompetent police call centre later I eventually managed to make contact with the elusive Sergeant via email.

The reason for his visit?

A blogger, based locally, had complained repeatedly to the police about me - alleging that I had embarked on some kind of campaign, threatened him and that I was involved in a sophisticated high level viral marketing campaign backed by the, I feel ill just typing it, Scottish Labour party.

Stunned and more than a little angry just about comes close to my reaction...

So to round this up, just a couple of points Herr Bloggermeckern
  • I don't just blog I have a life, offline so to speak - you should try it, it's big out there
  • I am an anarchist, maybe a lefty minarchist - I don't know if that is possible, and do not care
  • I have no connection with any organised political party, I may have had in the past, not now - you cannot organise anarchists any more than you can atheists or cats for that matter
  • I despise what the Labour party has become, it is now the very epitome of lowest common denominator, freedom hating pseudo liberal fascism
  • I mistrust all politicians
  • I reserve the right, here on this blog, my blog, to express my opinions - if you don't like them you can fuck off elsewhere, there are interweb sites for everything and everybody - try Google, it's a search engine
  • If you are dyslexic and not just stupid as I suspect, use a spellchecker and stop bleating about it - it means the square root of nothing to me; I have trouble with complex numbers but I don't feel the need to broadcast it
  • Don't use a sexual pen name and expect to be taken seriously
  • If you are so fragile and as easily upset as you obviously are I can recommend arts & crafts in preference to blogging; macramé a straight-jacket or perhaps you could needlepoint a coherent blog post with a well constructed argument - there is a first time for everything
  • You cannot make up laws in your jumbled mind and then report them to real world law enforcement, it doesn't work like that - it's a waste of time for everybody
  • I know you regularly visit my blog, if you wish to engage in a conversation please email me - I'd love hear from you...
That is all, bloody bloggers hmmph

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Much ado about very little...

Image
BRITAIN emerged from recession today as the economy grew by 15p.

The Office of National Statistics confirmed the end of the longest downturn in post-war history thanks to a chubby woman in Doncaster buying a Cadbury's Boost from a Shell garage at 11.20pm on New Year's Eve.

Touché Daily Mash; read more here...

TotallyLooksLike...




What is THAT affectation like?

Monday, 25 January 2010

Normal service will be resumed...

It will be; I've just got a few real world things to deal with.

If you do accidentally find your way here and are wondering if I am dead, I am not yet - but it is the one sure thing in life - so live it, I am trying.

In the meantime here's a 'news' story that caught my eye, courtesy of those very funny folks at GLOSSYNEWS.com:


Activists Missing After Declaring “War on Leather” at Motorcycle Rally
Activists Missing After Declaring “War on Leather” at Motorcycle Rally Johnstown, PA (GlossyNews) – Local and state police scoured the hills outside rural Johnstown, Pennsylvania, after reports of three animal rights activists going missing after attempting to protest the wearing of leather at a large motorcycle gang rally this weekend. Two others, previously reported missing, were discovered by fast food workers “duct taped inside several fast food restaurant dumpsters,” according to police officials.


“Something just went wrong,” said a still visibly shaken organizer of the protest. “Something just went horribly, horribly, wrong.”

The organizer said a group of concerned animal rights activist groups, “growing tired of throwing fake blood and shouting profanities at older women wearing leather or fur coats,” decided to protest the annual motorcycle club event “in a hope to show them our outrage at their wanton use of leather in their clothing and motor bike seats.” “In fact,” said the organizer, “motorcycle gangs are one of the biggest abusers of wearing leather, and we decided it was high time that we let them know that we disagree with them using it…ergo, they should stop.”

According to witnesses, protesters arrived at the event in a vintage 1960’s era Volkswagen van and began to pelt the gang members with balloons filled with red colored water, simulating blood, and shouting “you’re murderers” to passers by. This, evidently, is when the brouhaha began.

“They peed on me!!!” charged one activist. “They grabbed me, said I looked like I was French, started calling me ‘La Trene’, and duct taped me to a tree so they could pee on me all day!”

“I…I was trying to show my outrage at a man with a heavy leather jacket, and he…he didn’t even care. I called him a murderer, and all he said was, ‘You can’t prove that.’ Next thing I know he forced me to ride on the back of his motorcycle all day, and would not let me off, because his girl friend was out of town and I was almost a woman.”

Still others claimed they were forced to eat hamburgers and hot dogs under duress. Those who resisted were allegedly held down while several bikers “farted on their heads.”

Police officials declined comments on any leads or arrests due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, however, organizers for the motorcycle club rally expressed “surprise” at the allegations.

“That’s preposterous,” said one high-ranking member of the biker organizing committee. “We were having a party, and these people showed up and were very rude to us. They threw things at us, called us names, and tried to ruin the entire event. So, what did we do? We invited them to the party! What could be more friendly than that? You know, just because we are all members of motorcycle clubs does not mean we do not care about inclusiveness. Personally, I think it shows a lack of character for them to be saying such nasty things about us after we bent over backwards to make them feel welcome.”

When confronted with the allegations of force-feeding the activists meat, using them as ad hoc latrines, leaving them incapacitated in fast food restaurant dumpsters, and ‘farting on their heads,’ the organizer declined to comment in detail. “That’s just our secret handshake,” assured the organizer.

For more on this story, check with the ultimate hoax busting site to track late-breaking developments.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Bankers address Treasury Committee

The chief executives of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Northern Rock and the Lloyds Banking group faced questions from the Treasury Committee today.  The commitee is chaired by New Labour's "old Labour" attack dog, the one that can count, John McFall.

RBS Chief Executive Stephen Hester
addressing the Treasury Commitee today

McFall rose to prominence through his association with Christmas hampers and the redefinition of repentance at the hands of banking chief executives. He was widely viewed as the most suitable candidate for the Chair of the Treasury Committee on account of him being the only person in the Labour party who can understand duodecimal, thanks to his pre-decimal education.

RBS chief executive Stephen Hester was quizzed on expected bonus payouts and on his own pay package, worth a potential £9.6m. Mr Hester said he is the only FTSE 100 chief executive with a 'no reward for failure' clause in his contract, but admitted that even his parents think he earns too much.

When questioned on his plans to deal with the public disapproval on the announcement of bonus payments he responded that he was planning to "go on holiday for a long time".

He said RBS, which is 84% owned by the taxpayer, had "led the way" on pay reform in some ways, but not in the actual reduction of bonus payments.

Mr Hester told the committee that plans to return RBS to private ownership within three to five years were on track; just as long as we would be kind enough to continue propping up his failed enterprise long enough for them to retain some profit after bonus payments.

It's expected that bonus payments in excess of £1billion are due to be paid to bank employees in the next month.

Well we can't have the bwankers suffering, can we?  It's not as if they did anything wrong...

Yes yes, I know, this is just a wank joke.

But there is serious point, if I could just remember it...

32% of front line legislators unfit to vote, Public Whip figures show

I must state publicly that I am not entirely convinced by the blanket 'brave-soldier-hero' guff wheeled out by the MSM and even less by the 'case for war', however the breathtaking hypocrisy of legislators leaves me speechless - fortunately I can still manage a rant on my blog. You may think my comparison with commons division attendance ad hominen - I've spend the morning crunching the numbers from the Public Whip website and let me assure you it is far from it.  The next scandal?  It should be, I wonder if the figures on attendance in debates are available?

Believe me, if soldiers in the first world war achieved attendance figures close to that of the average MP, they would have been shot for desertion.

I decided to base my response on this headline piece as reported this morning by the BBC webshite, here goes:


32% of front line legislators unfit to vote, Public Whip figures show


More than 1,000 personnel suffered combat injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan, their participation in increasingly unpopular wars of attrition nodded through by New Labour and Conservative politicians with no concern for legality or the probity of the case for war.

In an astonishing case of absolute cowardice on the part of legislators, and an attempt to distract the public from the real villains in this debacle the Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin [claimed > £60,000 on his expenses to rent his sister-in-law’s farmhouse, just over the road from a country home part-owned by his wife, voted for an illegal war in Iraq] has attempted to obfuscate the collective ineptitude and liability of the honorable members of the Commons by publicising deployment figures.

In an audacious act of self aggrandisment and diversion, that can only be interpreted as an attempt to further undermine the MOD and service personnel, Mr Jenkin cast doubt over the competence, commitment and fitness of service personnel - thinly disguised as concerned for injured service personnel.

According to Mr Jenkin military deployment availability stands at 80%, or as the BBC pejoratively put it '20% of army infantry personnel - are unfit for frontline combat duties'. Public Whip figures show that almost 209 MPs - or 32.19% of elected legislators are unfit for frontline voting duties at any one time .

Some are not fully deployable because of physical or mental injury or illness, or lack of fitness, others because of non-medical reasons - but mainly because they cannot be arsed working for their well above average salary packages.  Compare if you will the salary of an infantry soldier to the generous pension, salary and expenses extended to MPs.

The data from the Public Whip website showed that since 2005 in 151 divisions (votes, where the common 'divides') the commons had fewer than 50% (323) fully deployable legislators.

The MoD said most classed as medically non-deployable could still contribute, however MPs that fail to vote make no contribution - they are neither penalised financially or held to account, nor required to offer explanation.

Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin, who obtained the information, told the BBC: "To have 20% of the infantry unfit for the duties they are primarily employed and trained for is quite a staggering figure. Erm Bernard, not as staggering as your hypocrisy, Bernard Jenkin's voting attendance since 2005 sits at 64.5%.
As I see it Mr Jenkin, and every other MP who voted for the war, this is down to you.  Your headline grabbing attempt to bolster your reputation as a defence specialist only emphasises the UK government's willingness to bend over and take one up the arse for the USA and its military industrial complex - then complain about the pain afterwards.  It throws into stark relief your misguided collective decision to go to war.

You broke it, you fix it - and stop stating the bleeding obvious; the infantry are acquiring injuries and dying, what the fuck did you think would happen? At least they turned up..

Sunday, 10 January 2010

The fall of a dynasty, NornIron styleee...


I am watching the whole Robinson dynasty disintegration bemused, an all too rare occasion to enjoy the hypocrisy of the judgmental deliciously spiced with the deserved comeuppance of an arrogant First Minister and his lunatic god-bothering wife.

I heard this morning that a Belfast radio station has been playing Mrs Robinson, the iconic Simon and Garfunkel song, constantly, as a result of the volume of requests from its listeners.

I know NornIron fairly well, I worked there in the 1980's - on my first visit my car was nicked and found burnt out in east Belfast.  It was a brand new, and at the time I thought cool, Ford Orion Ghia, in white.

The RUC officer, who turned up in an armoured Land Rover, dressed like robocop and armed to the teeth, took my statement, and as I bemoaned the loss of my lovely car, and noting my tears he turned to me sympathetically and said
"Never mind love, it's only an Escort with a boot - you can buy a proper car next time"
Self deprecation and the ability to laugh in the face of adversity is something I admired in the folks I met in war torn Belfast and something that we across the UK share.

So here's to you Mrs Robinson


Hattip: Plato

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Let it snow...


View from my bedroom window
I got up with a start this morning, excited, hoping that the forecast might be wrong (I know, pretty much a safe bet these days) - I pulled back the bedroom curtains and smiled.  For a few seconds I stood transfixed, happy, my eyes following the large fluffy snowflakes tumbling slowly down with childlike excitement - I love that 'big reset' the familiar built environment around me undergoes as it is wiped clean by the snow.  What I didn't realise this morning was that I had an audience; my neighbour removing the snow from his car below my bedroom window, he was kind enough to smile and wave. His stupid grin the last thing I saw as I launched myself backwards, embarrassed, ninja like (I wish) onto the still warm bed, wishing I had put on those pyjamas my mum was kind enough to give me for Christmas.

Undeterred by my inadvertent 'show', I washed and dressed in something warm, put on my scarf, hat, gloves and big woolly jacket and ventured out; picking up a newspaper an excuse to walk in the snow and indulge the child in me...

I love the snow, I am transported back to my 7 year old self every time it snows; I like walking in it, I feel more alive - the chill on my cheeks and the crunch underfoot an exquisite reminder of how beautiful this little watery world can be and how insignificant mankind is. I never fail to be startled by the anechoic characteristics of a snowbound environment, distant dominant noises suppressed and quiet close by sounds amplified and crystal clear in the unusually still air.  It's magic...

The adult in me, and the nihilistic anarchist, loves the fuckwittery a spell of bad weather brings out in normally well balanced folks and the great institutions of state and commerce.  A kick in the balls to hubris and delusional believers in their own omnipotence.

Bring it on: Economic disaster, public cattle-transport services rendered useless, plummeting footfall in the cathedrals of retail commerce, pathetic counter-intuitive Met Office lectures on climate vs weather by the acolytes of green fascism that raise more questions than they answer, power-plays over dust by government departments/agencies/councils, helf and safety nonsense of super-Daily-Mail proportions and the discovery of more English words than we knew to describe the cataclysm that is snow - our infantilised mainstream media and press laid bare and unable to say anything original, simply indulging in a repetitive spiraling nauseating weather based disaster chant.

Snow is my friend -

Let it snow...

Friday, 8 January 2010

Do politicians lie?

Well I know that neocons do - they say zealots are blind to inconvenient truths but this pronouncement really defies belief: 



Where was he when 9/11 kicked off?  He was the Mayor of New York, who publicly pronounced that he was glad that George W. Bush was resident in the White House - surely he couldn't have forgotten that?

Cause or effect?  Some of the nine eleven/Al Quaeda deniers are very excited - asserting that his "slip" is proof absolute that there was some sort of conspiracy.  This interview has gone viral in hours.

Personally?  I think it's much simpler; he is a fucking idiot and a liar - having told so many expedient lies in his career that he has finally tripped himself up, publicly. And that's par for the course for shabby grasping politicians the world over.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Marxist philosophy...

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.

Groucho of course, and I predict that we'll see lots of just this in the run down to the election.

Confusing surnames...

It's not often I am entertained by PMQs, in fact for most of yesterday's clash of the petitans it was the usual pissing contest - rendered even more nonsensical by the frisson of an impending election.

To extend my tortuous metaphor further; I do wish Brown and Cameron would keep their respective election erections in their pants - the fact that both of them share a boner when called upon to perform solo is, for most of us swooning ladies, an unedifying spectacle - Oh Mr Brown, Mr Cameron I am undone...

However after a shot across their bows, so to speak, by the usually somnambulent speaker John Bercow thusly
Order. May I just say to Members on both sides that we are not on the hustings now?
the farce descended into a tragic derivative comedy, cleverly based on the ambiguous use of our Chancellor's surname (the relevant exchange can be read in full here) - in a bewildering Blackadder-esque homo erotic parody. A lesson in why politicians, like the little boys they are, should be seen and not heard. Read and weep:
DC: The difference between me and the Prime Minister is this: when I lean across and say, "I love you, darling," I really mean it. The only divorce that has taken place is between this Prime Minister and reality.

GB: The Right hon. gentleman talks about love and marriage, when he is the person who cannot give a straight answer on the married couples allowance

DC: If the Prime Minister wants to turn this around and make it Prime Minister's questions, he should get on and call the election. Then there would be all the time in the world to kiss and make up.
And this gentlemen, is how to do it -


No need for policies guys, the revolt is over...

It was a close thing today; for a picosecond or two it looked like the Tories might actually have to come up with some policies before the general election.  The 'Hoon-Hewitt letter non-event' had the Tories sweating, even more oleaginous than usual - if you can imagine that?

For a fleeting moment their dark hearts sank at the thought of the loss of their one major election asset - Gordon Brown.

Fortunately for Osborne and Cameron even has-been-now-went New-Labour MPs, specifically Geoff and Patricia, maintain standards in competence that ensure nothing they ever put their hands to will succeed.  Maintaining a 110% KPI in incompetence and abject failure is now a New Labour tradition, the only tradition; and even this headline grabbing coup was destined to scream to the ground in flames from the get go.

Support, timing, research - you know all those things that go into planning a successful project, all blithely ignored by two wannabe rebels; in a neat reminder (as if we needed one) of why these grasping idiots should not be given control of the Westminster tuck shop, let alone anything of importance.

So the George and Dave Roadshow can rest easy tonight in the knowledge that they won't have to face David Millipede PM across the dispatch box before the election - because that would really have swung it in Labour's favour, wouldn't it?

Well he's formidable isn't he?

So credible and authoritative

           with that banana and everything.......




EDIT: A veh funneh tek on teh hole "coo fer a noo leeduh" buy Librel Conspiracy

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The minister for street parties - pardon?


I was in the kitchen last night packing the shopping away, radio on, when I thought I heard 'The Dark Lord Madelson' announce in sombre tones that
"I am, none the less, very happy to take ministerial responsibility for street parties. Perhaps I shall leave others to take responsibility for the mugs."
"What the fuckety fuck was that" I thought as I turned to stare at my kitchen DAB in disbelief, frozen - looking for some kind of confirmation to quell my incredulity - wishing I'd bought the more expensive one with replay.

I wasn't sure if it was a comedy show I had mistaken for news - I did check the date, just in case I had tripped into an event horizon on the way back from Tesco and traveled forward to the 1st of April.

But no, it was genuine - noteworthy in its improbability alone.

While we're at it, let's get everybody else involved in the organisation of the celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee; what about John Prescott in charge of catering, Alistair Darling can look after fund raising (after completing an RBS Moneysense course), the Met Office can do the weather predictions and Gordon Brown can arrange the deckchairs...

The mugs? We'll leave the Labour whips to deal with those as usual.

New Labour are not exactly my natural first choice as the party Party; I imagine stray dogs eating Iceland party food off wallpaper paste tables lining deserted streets, accompanied by a tinny "Things Can Only get Better" playing through police van PA speakers.

If there is any natural justice none of these wankers will actually be involved in politics by 2012 anyhoo - much implausible ado about nothing, as they say.

Mandelson - minister for parties, I've heard it all - that's one of the signs of the apocalypse innit?

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Call me Dave, consultants, the NHS and pianos

David Cameron, the straight guy in the comedy duo Osborne and Cameron (doesn't bode well for an entertaining election campaign, does it?) is going to abolish targets in the NHS, well apart from the important targets - he'll employ an army of consultants to decide which ones those are. "I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS" yeah right CallmeDave - and I personally will swallow a fucking grand piano, whole...


Germany finds innovative way to track swine flu innoculations...



News from Germany via the Neue Westfälischen:

It appears that Bielefeld has seen it's first victim of swine flu (Schweinegrippe - you've got to love German), there are ten other cases isolated in the Respiratory centre at Gilead hospital.

The good news is that the staff have all been inoculated - and in a characteristically efficient way of tracking those protected by vaccination it would appear that the hospital are removing one finger from the left hand - just to avoid any confusion you understand, and much less controversial than a tattoo...

Misomaniac me...


I sit aghast at the irrelevance of it all; modern mainstream media craves our attention, insisting we sit up and take notice of the latest non-news or un-entertainment, a never ending stream of inaccuracy and irrelevance that matters not a jot to us, the ordinary consumers - intellectually somnolent victims of our own indifference.

I chose the word consumers after much consideration, the result of my long term search for the correct description of the residents of the UK; we aren't citizens, we are no longer technically subjects under a powerless crown - consumers has the right feel.

Gentle readers please forgive me for this self indulgence, misomania grips my black soul today - I hate everything about this miserable country; our dumbed down, celebrity centric, joyless, weather obsessed, unrepresentative democracy, anti-science and technology, PC placatory society is doomed I fear.

This is not only the opinion of a slightly depressed and disillusioned blogger, well it may be, indulge me further -  consider if you will, the evidence;
  • We have one political party with two leaders, New Labour or Conservative - what's the choice?  A new portrait on the staircase wall of 10 Downing Street the only sign of change
  • We enjoy debts that will cripple our economy for decades, and we do enjoy it - whether we are complaining (a national pastime, which I also enjoy), spending on the never-never or watching the value of our homes increase - patting ourselves on our backs for our financial prowess, but secretly wondering if it really is down to us?
  • Our education system is a nonsensical jumble of politically correct, but academically incorrect, training
  • We hate our children, well technically everybody else's kids
  • More people are members of the RSPB than political parties, birds - yes feathered, and mainly flying, dinosaur descendants are of more import than political process and a desire to seek change by influence from within - FFS
  • Our political classes are out and out career criminals, with the remorse instincts of Kubla Khan
  • Manufacturing industry is now restricted to the manufacture of components for the construction of new supermarkets and retail units in which we sell foreign manufactured goods to each other, units in which we regularly congregate to worship at the feet of the gods of Avarice and Arrerage
  • The "great British" press, mainstream and broadcast media stuff our gullets with an unending diet of trivial mind numbing shit then pillory us for indulging in reactionary protest, negativity or leaning too heavily on the drug of our choice in a vain attempt to blank out the pain
  • We know the price of nothing and the value of nothing
  • We wage war against anybody who does not believe that their country would not benefit from all of the above
I could go on but my laptop keyboard is now awash with tears of blood, I'd better switch it off and dry it out, in preparation for round two.

So much for my new year optimism - 5 days in and I'm yet again considering emigration or revolution - oh well, mustn't grumble...

EDIT: So I am not alone in my new year blues after all, and the Devil believes he has an answer

Monday, 4 January 2010

The Most Useless Machine - Ever!



This will be part of a new series of posts for 2010 - "The Most Useless ***** Ever", suggestions gratefully received.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Yemen - the explosive underwear capital of the world


We have a new bogey-man, well bogey-state as it appears to be.

So a Nigerian, who studied in the UK appears to have been radicalised in a brain-washing nomad's tent, sited in a desert, in a country before now only known to stamp collectors.

Just more of a fear agenda than reality methinks. The USA, and the UK - still manifesting itself as a pair of feet hanging out of the star spangled arsehole - have announced today that they have withdrawn their ambassadors.  Can somebody please inform me of a single reason why the withdrawal of our senior diplomats, in a country until 2 days ago completely off our intelligence service's radar, will make any difference?  Fucked if I know.

It might add to a heightened climate of fear though, cynical old me...

And Yemen? They will only allow us to embark on an anti-terrorist campaign within their borders if we give their failing state money, after all they are running out of oil and water.  A country that is devoid of water is not exactly a tenable location, for terrorists or citizens - Al Qaeda would be as well siting themselves in the Atacama desrt - no rainfall there, ever...

Do not be fooled, this is not about a terrorist threat, this is about a Shock Doctrine; never ending war and fear binding us, the targets we are told, to the welcoming arms of our failed democracy.

Who's next?  Well he did study in the UK, what about us?  We're broke also...

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Winter evenings...

It's cold outside, and inside - thanks to my insane electric powered, storage radiator centric, central heating (no gas in this part of Edinburgh) - metal boxes filled with bricks warmed by a 12 foot heating element might have seemed a good idea in the 1970s - but that was when electricity was cheap, if a bit unreliable.  Oh well, I've got a large pot of warming home-made soup on the stove, and have just polished off some stovies - hopefully I should manage to generate my own heat...

Now ensconced in front of the laptop, glass of wine in hand, my thoughts turn to yet another year of the righteous anti-alcohol onslaught; an exercise in infantilising nazi-esque social engineering epitomised by the BBC's 00:05 1st of January "Happy New Year" story.
Rising alcohol addiction costs 'could cripple the NHS'
The cost of treating the growing number of people drinking heavily threatens to cripple NHS hospitals, warn experts.
Now where was I? Sorry went through to the kitchen to chop some leeks into my soup and lost my train, and as for trains - what about that new year hike in fares, during a time of recession? I thought the fares tracked the RPI? (sorry) That was about 0% over the last year, was it not?

Erm, sorry that wasn't it, I'm obviously struggling to get back into this blogging thing - or is it just holding back the floodgates of outrage that's the problem?

Oh I've found it, there's my gall bladder, and my train of thought - my poor excuse for a cogent intellect...

It would appear that us naughty adults are under attack from all angles over alcohol, the SNP are on the bandwagon whipping the horses in this cheery New Year propoganda release, radio and TV repeated the same kill joy "press-release disguised as a story" ad nauseum - and to top it all the sorry excuse for a stink-tank, Policy Exchange, thinks we should all pay £500 if we turn up at hospital after imbibing a couple of drinks.

The Filthy Smoker over at the inestimable Devil's place has a poke at this story, revealing some of the life-hating villains behind this festive guilt trip; topping it off with an exemplary demolition job on the already very dodgy financial claims - it's worth a read if you haven't already.

I have a slightly different angle; the anti-alcohol lobbyists have derived considerable self congratulatory justification in their festive message by the timely announcement that the Russian government have decided to impose the second minimum vodka price in 5 years, increasing the minimum price of a bottle of vodka to $3.  This increase has been hailed by the SNP, campaigners and the press as an anti-alcoholism measure, and who are we to doubt that?

Well informed people that read non-UK based media, perhaps?

The motive behind the Russian minimum price is not health, it is officially about putting a stop to non-excise duty paid cheap vodka - hooch, or 'samogon'. It's about tax revenue, as always - follow the money. The Russian government and health campaigners alike publicly acknowledge that minimum pricing will not reduce deaths by alcohol, they know - it's been tried already. The consensus of opinion is that the causes of Russian alcohol abuse are much more deep rooted; social, financial, climatic and education - to name but a few.

Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish Health Minister ignores Moscow's real intent; co-opting their hike, to £1.60 per bottle, to help justify an ill-informed social engineering policy that will ultimately fail - I wonder if we will see a retraction of that 'news' piece?

As for alcohol deaths in Scotland, the statistics are quite clear - there were 1360 deaths wholly attributable to alcohol in 2003, not 3000, of a total of 58064.  There were 14049 wholly attributable patient-specific discharges, not 42000, of a total of 569269 [Alcohol attributable mortality and morbidity: alcohol population attributable fractions for Scotland, June 2009].

The difference in the actual figures and those quoted by politicians and press? The inclusion of 'partially attributable' figures, make of that what you want - personally I see it as symptomatic of lazy thinking and scare-mongering of the most risible kind. Behaviour typical of campaigners who choose to ignore reality to further their campaigns - grabbing at meta-data straws and anecdotal evidence does not a case make.

The reality is that many of us drink, and regularly - given that, a biased researcher could cite alcohol as contributory in many medical admissions/conditions even if an actual mechanism does not exist, and that's exactly what the much inflated and well publicised Scottish figures demonstrate.

Drinking is normal behaviour, not aberrant and dangerous - surely an analytical starting point should take heed of this fact?  Not to do so is to set an unrealistic norm from which to measure the expected "adverse" influence of the demon drink - you might even get the lazy lazy campaign backing and terror inducing results you want for your social marketing exercise.

Me? I can't fly - personally I blame the booze, need to drink more.

And stop wagging your finger at me, bastards...

Friday, 1 January 2010

Fremen


Old Holborn has declared his intention to assert his rights as a free individual and live outwith the reigns imposed on all of us by a controlling state, as he puts it - as "a Freeman of the land."

The decision by any individual to live their life unencumbered by the state is one that requires real conviction and determination. Success requires an enormous amount of effort but I know it to be ultimately rewarding, allow me to explain:
In 2000 I met a guy who lived successfully as a 'Perpetual Traveler', his life story was fascinating.  Having made a small fortune in the Internet boom of the late 90s he chose to opt out; living his life with the minimum of state interference - paying no tax and free to come and go as he pleased. He now travels the globe keeping an eye on his various investments, most importantly doing it for himself and his own benefit - and that of his loved ones.  As he recounted me his story it dawned on me that he was perhaps the only truly free person I had ever met, and I determined then that if I ever made enough money I'd do likewise.  Steve is still out there, we email each other from time to time, he flits between one impossibly beautiful location and another; free.

Me?  I haven't made that fortune yet, but all is not lost - perpetual traveling is not the only option.

As I understand it Old Holborn has a family and a business and that he wishes to remain in the UK.  These circumstances limit his options but I am sure he can make a success of his rejection of hegemony disguised as democracy; I've gone some of the way down this road myself with ease, and continue, it's challenging and inconvenient but ultimately worthwhile. I also know I am not alone - there are many others; perhaps one day I'll share my story here, suffice it to say it does not benefit me to make too much of a noise about it - that's just asking for trouble.

I wish OH the best of luck - if ever there was a cause worth fighting for it is that of your own freedom.