Monday, 31 May 2010

I wish I could be like David Laws

Potentially could have been a great man in politics, intelligent, great business acumen, rights to a private life... whatever you feel about this guy, and I agree with most of the sentiments that have already been expressed by others, there's one repeatable nucleotide that seems to run through all the political elite's DNA:

Putting their self interest above the country.

It's obviously not the money is it?  Laws was a millionaire.  It's the fact that the political elite try to twist the system to benefit themselves once again.

If I try and put a "Thai massage with extras" though as a business expense, the HMRC would simply shake their collective wonk heads, wag their callus free manicured fingers and point me to EIM31660:

To be deductible from the earnings of an employment an expense must be incurred wholly and exclusively in the performance of the duties of the employment.

They would simply and quite rightly refuse it.  I know I shouldn't put this through as an expense, however complicated the tax rules are.

Laws knew.  He knew it was wrong.  He tried to use his sexuality to protect himself.  I'm sorry, but it is wrong.

We need FULL transparency, FULL accountability for EVERY penny claimed by the political elite and for them to be subjected to the same rules as the rest of us have with the HMRC.

Better still, simply remove the option of expenses from the political elite and let them chose and pay for the various services out of their "salaries" like the rest of us have to do in business.

Friday, 28 May 2010

An Appalling Question Time

I have to admit that I avoid watching the spectacle of farce and bias that has become the BBC's Question Time, but last night I joined David Vance and the crew from Biased BBC to watch the programme and comment on Live Chat.

Probably the worse edition of the programme I have seen. 

The programme kicked off by Dimbers saying that the new coalition government refused to place one of their ministers there unless they removed the failed spin doctor and yesterday's man, Alistair Campbell from the panel and replace him with a shadow minister.

Gavin Allen, the executive editor of Question Time said:

It is for Question Time, not political parties, to make judgements about impartiality and to determine who is invited to appear in the interests of the audience.

The remaining 59 minutes of the programme quickly nosedived into an orgy of Tory bashing, coalition critique and pro Labour propaganda, apart from one minor distraction of Piers Moron blaming Campbell for Iraq and asking him to apologise, which he naturally refused (for fear of opening a can of fake dossier worms).  Amusingly, someone in the audience at that moment jeered: "Dr Kelly". 

John Redwood initially took a surprisingly aggressive stance against Campbell throwing in plenty of blame for the mess we're in down to "Campbell's government".  Unfortunately, an audience packed with liberals clapping enthusiastically like seals whenever Campbell had finished his diatribes and the constant interruptions from Dimbers quickly quenched any semblance of a Tory viewpoint.

This is interesting in the fact that maybe, perhaps the new coalition have started to make a stand against the creep of "progressive" liberal bias that has infested the once great BBC.  Evidence of their complete lack of political impartiality is becoming more public and their ludicrous stance of "the science is settled within the BBC" and their zealous defence of anything regarding the eco-lunacy of the global warming bollocks and windmills variety is frankly staggering.

Could we be seeing the first battle lines being drawn between the new coalition government and the BBC?  Certainly, the BBC's anti-Tory rhetoric is growing stronger.  Do they sense their vast empire may be in danger as the new coalition starts to hack away at the gluttonous tentacles of the public sector?  Maybe.

You can all help with that process yourselves by cancelling your TV licences.  It's very easy to do.  Here's the number: 0844 800 6705.  Just say you want to cancel your licence, they don't ask you why and if they do, just say you don't watch any more telly.

More info here.

Monday, 17 May 2010

"Oi! You look like an alien, mate"...

...were the words some schoolkid shouted at me a few years ago while cycling with a helmet.  I didn't mind what he said, in actual fact, he was quite right, I did look like something from a Ridley Scott outtake with sweat pouring down my face.

A few months later I stopped wearing one, not because I was sensitive to the occasional insult thrown my way, but to the false sense of security it was providing.

Cycling on main roads is a daunting experience for most cyclists, especially in school rushhour with the blind panic of a herd of women rushing to pick up their precious cargo of spawn.

Would a helmet have protected me from the juggernaut that didn't stop at the roundabout I was traversing?

Would a helmet have protected me from the car that overtook me through a width restriction speed calming measure?

Would a helmet have protected me from the juggernaut that simply didn't give me enough room on the bend?

Would a helmet have protected me from the car that overtook me and then suddenly braked and turned sharply left in front of me?

The answer to all those questions is quite simply, no.

One of my personal objections to wearing a cycling helmet is not that it is an infringements of my individual rights, or that it look silly, it's the epitome of all that is wrong with the risk adverse, health and safety legislation that we are being subjected to on a daily basis.

Talk to some people that you do not wear a helmet and the response is a sharp intake of breath, a barrage of meaningless statistics and a wagging finger.

The unintended consequences of threatening people with immediate death if you do not wear a helmet is the fact that a false sense of security is nurtured within people believing that the safety gear makes them invincible to fast moving, solid objects.

Some people don the hi-vis vests and believe they are wearing the Breastplate Armour of Invicibility.

Some people don the alien helmet and believe they have been blessed with the Helm of Righteousness.

Some people don the cycling handwear and believe they are wearing the magic Gloves of Sauron.

The people I know that wear this gear, often jump on their bikes and cycle on the roads without a care, going through red lights, chatting away and paying no attention to what is behind them, in front of them and what is overtaking them.

By wearing all this protective gear they think they are shrouded in a magical force field that enables them to cycle through a roundabout in front of a 30 tonne juggernaut which will simply stop in a Matrix-esque "bullet time" fashion while the cycling hero darts in between Agents Ford, Daewoo and Audi unscathed.

No.  Ears and eyes, concentration and a constant reminder: you are the bottom feeder in this maelstrom of deadly missiles.

If I hear a lorry behind me impatiently trying to overtake, do I adopt the attitude of "It's my right to be on the road"?  No.  I pull over and let him pass.

If I see a width restriction or a parked car in front of me, do I pull out?  No.  I look behind me and with plenty of time, indicate and pull out slowly.  If the person hasn't seen me or I suspect will ignore me, I will stop on the side of the road.

If I approach a side road or a supermarket entrance, will I have a quick look around and carry on cycling?  No.  I slow down, look behind me, move out to the middle of the road and cover the brakes.

Cycling is great fun, even on the roads but I wouldn't cycle in busy city centres or dual carriageways if I could travel on quieter roads.

It's all about awareness of other drivers, their viewpoint and your own actions.  Wearing all the safety gear does not absolve you of these responsibilities, nor does it make you invincible.

Some interesting views here

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

A cracking retort to a liebour troll

h/t Speccie (Nicholas)

Richard the Dork - the only poster whose comments suggested an unpleasant combination of sweating and writhing was you.

Your copious and seemingly never ending posts in the run up to the election revealed with crystal clarity your narrow minded bias, your sweeping stereotypic dismissal of alternative political viewpoints and your swallowing, hook line and sinker, of the propaganda being generated by an unpleasant and unelected trio of New Labour spinners. It already sounded passé, the chip-shouldered blathering of one of last century's soviet surrogates, a rather empty head filled with preconceptive sloganism, socialist mythology and resentment rather than any objectivity, maturity or the fruits of any meaningful life experience. But following the final purging of Scotch Marxism from Westminster it sounds positively archaic - and trite. A sad and grubby celebration of the negative, the literary (and not very literate) equivalent of sour grapes, rooted in the Marxist last gasp of 1997 and the awakening disbelief that your Party's spinning and lies were no longer to be believed. May I suggest that you accompany your sour grapes with a generous helping of hard cheese and a bottle of the finest Conservative schadenfreude, vintage 2010 (infinitely more palatable than Blue Nun) courtesy of yours truly.

Fortunately, cooler and more objective Labour heads prevailed. Your heckling, abusive and oh so tired kind of politics is perhaps best expressed by going to join the scruffy crowds of yoof Labour activists chanting "Tory scum" on the streets of London. I understand Fatbloke is there waiting for you with a two-man soviet-style banner to support. The pair of you will then be able to rival Laurel and Hardy in a heady mix of archaic political dogma and slapstick comedy.

Di-dum, di-dum, di-dum, di-dum, di-diddlee-dee .

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Out, damn'd spot! out, I say!

At last the skid mark on the underpants of Britain has met the Persil of destiny