Saturday, January 31, 2004

Libertarians Right or Right

Of all the points on the political compass, the Right Libertarian position is my favourite. My favourite, that is, in the sense that it provides the most entertainment; but also, truth be known, because I share some of the same ground.

Not a few Right Libertarians started life on the left and ended up where they are due, I suspect, to the force of logic. Because the plain fact is that Left Libertarians need to be, at best, able to believe six contradictory things before breakast, and at worst need to be positively schizophrenic to remain where they are. How can you regard individual freedom as sacrosant and think something should be done about poverty and lack of opportunity, at one and the same time? I don't know about anyone else, but it's a struggle for me, I can tell you.

No such problems abound at the South East corner of the political atlas, of course, where the only belief stronger than that of individual freedom is self belief. Am I alone in finding Right Libertarians the smuggest and furthest up their own arses in the political universe? Okay, they tend to be quite intelligent. Intelligent in the sense they possess a fair amount of logical reasoning ability, which is why they tend to punch above their weight in the bar room or the comments boxes. But come on guys, the lecturing, hectoring holier than the rest of the fucking universe doesn't half grate.

And the Right Libertarian's loudest voices tend to be considerably more Right than they are Libertarian. For instance, my child's problems with health arising from pollution are of considerably less importance than companies' rights to make money. And it is axiomatic that only governments, especially left wing, sorry, LEFT WING governments act corruptly. Business never exploits anything or anyone and when they do it's in the interests of the exploitees anyway. And if it's not, well social disapproval will soon sort it out. Or the Market, that mystical entity that would rule the universe if only reason were allowed to hold sway.

The market and social disapproval. How the eight year olds up the chimneys in Victorian England must have been grateful, knowing the market and social disapproval would eventually have led to the end of their plight. How their counterparts in the sweatshops of the Thid World must rejoice when they hear the free marketeers tell them things will get better in less than a generation. How the farmers in Kerala, using Coca Cola's toxic sludge as fertilizer while their women walk five kilometres twice a day for water because their boreholes have been emptied, must appreciate that governments should have no rights to intervene in the important task of making fizzy drinks lest the gods of the markets be thwarted. It's for their own good, you see. They were worse off before, when their fields didn't have carcinogens dug in and when they had water. They are just too ideologically prejudiced to realise how much better off they are now.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Pass the Bucket, Lord

So, was it a whitewash or was it the sober and considered verdict of one of the finest legal minds in the realm?

There's not many surprises in the reaction, although it's a bit strange seeing Jonathan Friedland and Boris Johnson on the same side of the fence.

What to make of it all? Well, Blair decided the terms of this inquiry and then upped the ante by saying he'd have to resign if Gilligan's allegations were proved to be true. Blair then offered Hoon as the sacrificial lamb and the script was supposed to be that the government and the BBC would take their raps on the knuckles with a resignation on either side and Alistair's smokescreen would have done it's job.

For reasons best known to himself, Hutton deviated from the script. Maybe he doesn't like fudges, maybe he just didn't have the bottle to go down in history as the Law Lord who brought down a government. Maybe he did a Denning. Maybe he's just too senile to have considered the evidence properly. We've all seen it, for crying out loud.

Whatever, I'm not sure the PM is best pleased with his overwhelming victory. If the lord hadn't fluffed his lines, Blair's enemies wouldn't be crying whitewash, stitch up and worse. And I don't really think he wants to go down in history as the Prime Minister who emasculated the most admired broadcasting institution in the world.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Class post from Harry. And before you open the comments, take a moment to think who would be the first person to comment and what they would say. You'll be right.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

The prof ondemocracy in Iraq.

Friday, January 16, 2004

I smelt a rat, or something, when I heard on the Beeb about the man who killed someone under the influence of the sitting down and giggling weed.

The admirable Jim Fitzsimons responds.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I've got rid of the comments for now as they seem to be down and affect loading on some systems. They won't be missed, anyway, as my reader rarely leaves any.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Thursday, January 08, 2004

When Michael Howard was appointed leader of the Conservative Party, I rather thought the fun times were over. The last two leaders were both Michael Foot type figures for me - essentially useless, but curiously endearing and certainly posing no real threat to their opponents. There is much harmless fun to be had watching political incompetence at work and both Hague and IDS provided us with a plentiful supply.

When Howard came along there was danger that the supply would dry up. Here was a man who had already been in high office and carried a reputation as a single minded conviction politician. A man to lead the Tories on their long march back to political credibility - the Conservatives' Neil Kinnock, perhaps. Maybe even John Smith, if not quite Tony Blair. In any event he wasn't supposed to be entertainingly loopy.

So it was with much delight that I read about his credo. Okay, so it's old news, by bloggie standards, but it's good old news.

What were they thinking of, those Saatchi boys, when they sat down with the remit to re-launch Transylvanias's finest's image? Well, it turns out they were thinking along the lines of "let's rework this pile of banal old bollocks and pass it off as our own."

Mind you, you have to admire Howard's chutzpah, if nothing else. When challenged with the similarities he managed to make it sound as if Rockefeller has ripped him off.

Many bloggers have had fun with this already, so I won't add to the general merriment, but there's one aspect to the story that intrigued me, and that was the Tories' conversion to the exciting world of New Media.
You can just picture the scene: the grandees are assembled while a bright young thing extolls the virtues of t'internet as a means of distributing a political message. "Viral marketing," he says, "that's what we should be looking at in the 21st century. It's cheap, it's effective and above all it appeals to today's people - the young, the tech savvy. What we do is get the Saatchis to cobble together something - it doesn't matter what, it's the medium that counts. Anyway, we seed it by emailing it to all our members and sympathisers. And here's the clever bit: they send it on to all their mates. It's called word of mouse, you see. Geddit? Word of mouse. And because it's by email and not anything to do with traditional media, it creates a buzz, see. There's a like, underground element to it. You wouldn't believe it, these things spread like wildfire. Within hours millions of people will see it. It's the politics of tomorrow."

He sits back in triumph. The grandees beam. "Capital idea, young man. Capital. Off you go and sort it out."

As the bright young thing closes the door behind him, the grandees confer some more.

"Double page spread in the Times?"

"That will do nicely."

Monday, January 05, 2004

The Kid is back on fine form at the moment. I was beginning to worry that real life had taken him over and turned him into a real student. Actually, I lie. I was rather looking forward to the time when he told us there was not enough hours in the day to blog, what with getting bladdered and shagging and watching daytime telly. But no, he has chosen to spend a goodly chunk of the New Year compiling a commentary on his worst lefties. So much spleen for one so young.

Also, his recent spell as a postie hasn't done anything for his Geographical awareness. You'll need to read the comments.