Thursday, December 13, 2012

IPCC AR5 draft report LEAKED: Strong evidence for solar forcing of climate

"The admission of strong evidence for enhanced solar forcing changes everything. The climate alarmists can’t continue to claim that warming was almost entirely due to human activity over a period when solar warming effects, now acknowledged to be important, were at a maximum. The final draft of AR5 WG1 is not scheduled to be released for another year but the public needs to know now how the main premises and conclusions of the IPCC story line have been undercut by the IPCC itself." - IPCC reviewer Alex Rawls

PLEASE RESHARE THIS - and download your copy while you can.
The IPCC or someone acting on their behalf will likely issue a cease and desist. The server is taking a hammering at the moment so downloads are slow. Once I have the whole lot I will rehost somewhere if they remove the original. [Original site HERE]

The entire chapter in question may be yet removed in the final , and just as with the previous IPCC reports, there are already clearly lots of political shenanigans at work. That cat however, is out of the bag. They have admitted that there is very likely strong solar forcing at work in the detected temperature trends. Do go and read the full article at WUWT. As Alec says, it's a game changing admission.

After the key chapter (ch7) the chapter following (chapter 8) appears to complete ignore the evidence and claims made in chapter 7, asserting that the premised solar effects are based just on TSI (Total Solar Irradience) when the evidence presented shows that this claim is now irrelevant. Whilst it is nir surprise the left hand and the right hand of an IPCC report doesn't know what the other is doing, this is also the usual alarmist refrain for dismissing solar influences.

The summary for policymakers will of course attempt to emphasise complete certainty and hysterical alarmism as it has done before. It's also the only part of the report alarmists seem to read. Similarly, press releases will (as they have in the past) give a completely different picture to what the report actually says. As they did with the press release for the SREX IPCC report - the Guardian, Independent etc repeated bogus assertions of coming "extreme weather" catastrophe implicating human causes when the report itself actually showed that no anthropogenic link could be found. See Pielke's treatment of this HERE.

Anyone however with a shred of integrity will have to admit that this is a big problem for the alarmist cause. The solar effects could be responsible for anything up to half of the recorded warming (and that's before we get to the issue of how many temperature data sets have been fraudulent adjusted to introduce additional warming trends). That's enough to kill the catastrophic versions of AGW dead, dead, dead.

In the meantime:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Minimum pricing: the most lethal mistake yet... the Coagulation government.

Of all of the idiotic policies (including and especially the government's newfound authoritarianism showing that it is just continuity Labour and not even giving us two years before pulling the curtain back...), given all the other factors involved I'd struggle to think of a more lethally stupid policy for this government. And one that it is set on forcing upon the rest of us. Yes - force - there is no mandate for this policy (there is however yet another meaningless "consultation" (i.e. give us a fig leaf of validation for what we were going to do anyway) - and one, I note that has not been reported by the media despite the press interest in this story. But then the media never do let us know about these "consultations", do they?).

And ah - yes - "policy based evidence making" as a Very British Dude put it. With computer models.

Ah - good old computer models.

I must have fallen asleep during the period when the scientific method was inverted and hollowed out to the point that computer models became acceptable as primary evidence instead of just useful tools for modelling and refining hypotheses. They're supposed to test your assumptions, not provide evidence for them. Though I'm not surprised that the government, or even a Russell Group institution like the University of Sheffield, has deemed it acceptable. It is after all good enough for climastrology catastrophism, and it seems part of the fashion is to exaggerate as much as possible in order to support policy goals (c.f. for example the absolutely appalling activist "research" detailed here).

In any case, the UoS "research" is taken fully to task here. Continuing this postnormal kind of madness is the fact that a frightening number of people seem to just fall over like surprised goats at the sight of an argument from authority. I'm sure doctors know a great deal about alcohol. How does that authority extend to being able to define policies that are based on economics? Answers on a postcard please...

....Anyway back to the title of the post. This is a policy not only without a mandate, it is without credible evidence of its efficacy and even lacks support within the cabinet itself. Worse, in a time of deep and seemingly endless recession where the cuts all keep coming (including many in the blatantly wrong places - under 25s housing benefit rather than international aid or the EU for example), the one primary tonic of the nation - affordable alcohol - is under attack. And by a deeply unpopular government that only survived the election in coalition. Not to mention the fact that only a year ago it had a severe criminal wave to deal with across the nation. And then there's the fact that it is likely to be ruled illegal under EU law (and despite this, the Prone Minister has promised to "fight" the EU on such a ruling!) In spite of all this the Boy Cameron is going to force extra costs on people, on something that is one of the few pleasures most of our countrymen and women can afford to indulge in. Costs that are completely unnecessary and driven by an authoritarian nannying agenda; restricting one of the few things that keeps many of us from suddenly rampaging through parliament (and its subsidised bars...). What could possibly go wrong?

So I do hope you join Anonymong, myself and others for Drinkuary (facebook event HERE) to stick two fingers up at the neo-puritans and their authoritarian handmaidens in government. Please do join in and spread the word. Also if you have any spare change, 1000 beermats linking to the Drinkuary site have already been ordered - we'd like to order more to spread the word at pubs across the land. There's a huge amount of anger riding on this one and its an issue that's good to get people talking about politics and their relationship with the horror that is our state again. Remember the great and the good don't like us gathering together in relaxed environments to talk serendipitously with one another. We might get ideas....

 ADDENDUM: Simply the best rant I've seen yet on this topic at 'The Thing Is'. Do read the whole thing. It's worth it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

It's that time of year again....

I posted this up last time for the election in the UK. It is just as apropos for tonight's shenanigans for the competition over who will be the next debt-racking, civil liberties killing, warmongering corporatist in the Oval Office. All the bloviating and posturing aside, it really does just come down to something like this....

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Dear Maj

Dear Maj,
So it has been sixty years. It is time for us to have a chat. I usually steer clear of collectivist language but today it seems appropriate. For today it is clear that any beneficent collective identity has been ripped away from us under your stewardship and what I have come to claim as positive and peculiarly ‘British’ in the demeanour I yet share with so many of my countrymen and women is now looked upon as an evil anachronism, whilst you somehow are not.

Seven times they were asked to sign. And seven times they signed. Each time the Sovereign looked on whilst the sovereignty of which she was supposed to be protector unto death was packaged up and sold off to a foreign and unaccountable power.

And yet you did nothing.

Even as you looked on, your son the Clown Prince Chuckles, stood in the Traitor’s Parliament and wittered on about how wonderful it was and that more power should be transferred as was humanly possible. He who hateth his subjects so: The Son of the Sovereign boasted how he would like to siphon off the thimble full of sovereignty still remaining to the mendacious mandarins of the continent and all their satanic little helpers in our own parliament of whores.

And yet you did nothing.

The country was made morally bankrupt in the world’s eyes as it pursued two horrific invasions and occupations, slaughtering thousands, maiming tens of thousands, forever destroying the lives of millions and leaving our descendants with foreign policy consequences for generations to come. All based on the lies and ambitions of a few men whom I can scarcely believe are human never mind that such worms are permitted to prosper. Even those who claimed realpolitik advantage with our once great daughter civilisation in the Americas were shown to be fools as even now when our own citizens are genuinely in need in the Falklands, even supposed allies turn against us. All that blood and treasure expended – for what?

And yet you did nothing.

In complete inversion of the self-sufficient British spirit for which our countrypeople became renowned we became dependants and weaklings. This phlegmatic race who would always fight to a finish has transformed into a debased shadow with its hand out constantly. The politics of division and sectarianism have become rooted in the nation which is now in terminal decline. This island of whom Napoleon said was made of a ‘nation of shopkeepers’ is now a set of divided ambulance chasing collectives. The paradox of democracy reached its nadir when the lazy and stupid outnumbered the rest of us and were able to vote themselves largesse from the state. Dispensation that they still demand even though reality will not be forthcoming as they have been taught otherwise by the ghostly whores that pass as statesmen and stateswomen in the parliament that is now little more than a regional office of the greater EUSSR.

And yet you did nothing.

When the one eyed son of the manse, the kirkcaldy clown, our very own modern day Caligula bullied his way to the position of Prime Monster and dealt the country its final death blow, you looked on still. In contravention to all sense, to appease the helpless class he and his fellow shitstains had so lovingly created here as a perpetual lobbying population for sloth and mediocrity, he took the nation to the very edge of bankruptcy. Globalisation has done its work and began rebalancing the economies and the equality of all humans across the Globe. For some reason the British post baby-boomers did not seem to think they needed to lift a finger to maintain their advantage. They were British you see and appear to have been led to believe that this meant simply expecting the world to fall at one’s feet, not – instead – as I understand it, to fight for it. And to have to fight for it with every generation. No Maj. They saw you and your ghastly family still riding high regardless of all other circumstances and so thought that they would be carried on one’s opulent coattails. They were not, as you well knew. This you have seen.

And yet you did nothing.

Postnormalism has now taken root within our educational institutions, our media, our science, our politics. No civilisation can survive such. The lies that increasingly became part of the ship of state are now, like woodworm, infested into the very foundations of the ship of society. Yet you knew. You knew. Now those blessed few of us who bother to look know, after it had been kept secret for three decades, that the Heath government knew what the endgame plan was for the EC. Millions voted in good conscience believing that their Dear Leaders would not lead them astray thinking that we were being bound to something as beneficial as a free market with our continental cousins. It was all a lie and known from the very beginning. My heart is gripped in a vice of pain and fear anticipating how many more revelations from the secret state, to which you were of course always party, will come to light in the coming decades. If I even make it to old age, I suspect I will die a sad weeping old man upon discovery of the poisons you have injected into the veins of this country. You will be long dead by then of course but your legacy will have lived on and the consciously managed decline of this realm will be complete even as you rot.

And yet you did nothing.

Those cultural gas chambers that we laughingly call institutes of learning are now producing en masse generations who cannot read, write or even use computers whilst being pumped full of a sense of entitlement that few of them deserve, to go out into a world where potential investors in their future are being taught to flee as fast as they can as the country becomes a becon and world leader in the most mind numbing levels of interference, taxation and petty expectation. Were it the case that these policies had produced a majority in upcoming generations of critical and incisive thinkers, but no. Under this factory system we now have surfeit of useless, talentless, wasters.

And yet you did nothing.

A single man was primarily responsible for preventing our joining the madness that is the Euro: Jimmy Goldsmith, who used his own personal fortune (in contrast to you) to defend the interests of the realm. Somehow you have outlived him. And none of the shit-sucking convention of genetic defectives of which you are part in the ruling class stood alongside him. It is clear the people are your enemy for you have not defended or protected them, you have instead been the nursemaid to many evil men, and now increasingly women too, who would sap the goodness of this nation for their own engorgement. And the marrow of the British is all but spent and about to crumble.

And you did nothing.

The nation’s legacy will be to have its landscape dotted with rusting Eco-crucifixes and hollow ivory towers of entitlement that future tourists will come to visit and laugh at whilst historians will look back in astonishment at this decades long act of collective suicide, all under your stewardship. We all fought eachother in our blocs and our bunkers – bunkers more like ruts that are just graves with the ends knocked out – that we failed to see the root, never mind strike it.

And for those of us who dared to say ‘no’, or to ask ‘why’ whether categorised in the ‘left’ or ‘right’ sheep pens (all the better to ensure we continue fighting eachother rather than you fifth columnists at the very heart of our institutions), we are directed to expend our energy arguing over the clowns and muppets in the parliament of whores over who has the differentest same policies whilst you and the rest of the shit eating ruling class untwine the last threads of the rug from beneath us with so few – so very few – noticing what you are doing. And those of us in the latter group to us you left the ultimate betrayal, for to us you turned our friends, family and loved ones into abscesses and whores and made them cry out that we had hurt them most.

I am not your subject. I owe you no allegiance or loyalty. No queen or monarch are you to me. No god, no master, but maybe a monster who has piled up secrets, lies and hypocrisy so high they will soon touch heaven.

 To you I bequeath this wreath and this curse.


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Minority of One - episode 1 - 'Signs & Portents' - released!

Here it is, the first episode of this long-form series, using a re-edited Babylon 5, with occasional subtitles to tell the story of the loss of, and battle to regain, freedom. In a mythical place in a galaxy far, far away called 'Albion 5'.

For further info and the original trailer, see here.

Friday, April 27, 2012

"If I wanted Britain to fail"

A new video has just started doing the rounds - "If I wanted America to fail". Now if only this video went viral like the "KONY 2012" meme. Unlike the Kony video this one, whilst following the surefire emotional porn philosophy, is packed full of verifiable and tear-jerking observations.

Everything in this video applies double to the UK and I'm sure a UK version is in the offing....

Please share widely.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ammo: Minority of One trailer

For an explanation of the 'Ammo' prefix, please see here.

If there's one thing missing from the libertarian armoury it is narratives. And with it - tugging of the emotional heartstrings. It has been one of the main advantages statists and propagandists more generally have held over us for a long time. I've discussed making moves to change that with fellow libertarians in the last year or so and this represents a modest effort in that direction.

This project tells the story - in a long, episodic format, of the loss of freedom in a mythical place called 'Albion 5', and the subsequent fight to claim it back against impossible odds. The video attached is the final trailer for the series.

It uses clips from Babylon 5 to tell the tale. There are already elements that fit perfectly from Babylon 5 so it was chosen as the vehicle for the story. Most of the characters represent principles and when references are made to actual historical figures (living or dead) they usually take the form of ships or weapons.

It is part literal, part metaphor and part allegory. I hope you enjoy it in those senses. Much of it is also tongue in cheek whilst also attempting to make serious points and tell an urgent story that is directly relevant to where we find ourselves now in the West more generally and Britain in particular.

Because so many elements of Babylon 5 fit the narrative I am attempting to tell (which is from an anti-war individualist/right libertarian point of view), much of it speaks for itself. However subtitles are used regularly to alter the meaning of what is being said, or highlight the role or name of particular characters, events or objects. It is also used sometimes to literally repeat what the character in question is saying to emphasise its importance. I'm hoping you are able to get into the spirit of it and enjoy the ride along with me.

First episode - provisionally named 'Signs and Portents', will be out at the end of next week.

Please spread the word!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Once upon a time in Bexley.....

Fellow blogger and member of the awkward squad, Olly C, has as I'm sure many of you already know, been slapped with a custodial sentence as a result of calling a Bexley councillor a "cunt" on twitter. There's a lot of history here and I've already seen some lightweights casually dismissing it because they believe the council's line that he was "harrassing" them.  For a short readable version, pop by Max's place. For a lengthier treatment, go to Spiderplant - which gives a fairly detailed and dispassionate breakdown. If you're unfamiliar with this case, Olly or Bexley council, then you really owe it to yourself to dig deep into this and as such just have a quick browse through Bexley is Bonkers for examples of mendacity from the council that are legion. The blogs just for April will give you enough of a taste. Rather than add my own summary of the situation, I'd rather highlight some particularly striking points from the 'Bexley is Bonkers' site.

First, however I would like to speculate on something. And I'd ask people to please share this speculation far and wide. Remember though, given how easily speech - especially online - is criminalised in this country, it is only a speculation.It goes as follows: Olly is due to be sentenced at Bromley magistrates court on May 9th. WOULDN'T IT BE AWFUL if Bexley council, and certain councillors in particular, were on the receiving end of a "mass cunting" on that day. That is to say - that they were inundated with emails, tweets and phone calls indicating that many of the general public considered them - well - "cunts". Spread the word about this speculation......I'd be interested to see if it comes true.

Secondly I wanted to highlight that the story is now being picked up by as diverse sources as Reddit, Stephen Fry and Sunny Hundal. That's good. These censorious attacks - especially in online media - have got to the point where they are simply beyond belief. I certainly wouldn't have believed you if you'd told me 10 years ago that this would happen. So a cross-partisan left-right shitstorm in response is exactly what we need, as we've had on (too few) occasions in the past such as when left and right blogs joined forces to support Craig Murray against Schillings.

Now - those two points I wanted to highlight, lifted verbatim from the 'Bexley is Bonkers' April 2012 blogs:

"When Eric Pickles’ department wrote to all councils in February 2011 telling them “citizen journalists” should be allowed to Tweet and film in council meetings even the most hard line of secretive Conservative councils like Barnet and Westminster caved in. Bexley however changed its Constitution to exclude all forms of recording at meetings. All their Agendas repeat the prohibition and when questioned they say it is to protect members of the public from appearing on tape. They sheepishly offer the excuse that permission may be granted on request but not a single request has been approved, not even for an audio only recording at a meeting where the public is not allowed to speak."

And as to why / how the judge on friday effectively threw the book at Olly:

"the charges were those prepared from the original false allegations that included flaming torches, pitchforks, petrol bombs and Olly writing on Bonkers. All of that was untrue; made up and distorted stories by Bexley council aimed at getting both Olly and me in trouble. The prosecution could find no evidence for any of those allegations which is what you might expect since they were all false and Olly was found not guilty last December. All the nonsense invented by Bexley council was put before the new Judge as fact. Worrying."

Did I mention that the judgement against Olly was made at a court in Bexley?

Time to consider this a war footing I think.

And my personal message to Bexley council is:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

You can support the Open Rights long as you're not white and male

UPDATE 3 (27/03/12) - Jim Killock, Executive Director of ORG responds in the comments (Comment #10). Response is as expected - no condemnation of Nishma's views. My response follows in comment #11.

UPDATE 2 (26/03/12): Nishma Doshi responds on twitter. Comment #8 below.

UPDATE 1 (26/03/12): Mealy mouthed response from and twitter exchange with ORG advisory board member Owen Blacker added - comment #7 below.

I'm done. I've absolutely had it with attempts to work with the activist left in this country. No more.

The Open Rights Group held its conference 'Orgcon' yesterday. It's a hub of activity and interesting talks for anyone interested in the crucial issues facing us in the digital realm in general and with regard to the internet in particular. ORG have worked for many years now to raise awareness on issues such as the Digital Economy Act and ACTA and have run many campaigns to get people involved. These are causes that affect everyone and there is good reason for people of all political persuasions to get involved.

You might be reading this and passively wishing I'd included links to ORG and their useful summary pages on the Digital Economy Act and ACTA. That was a conscious choice not to and I won't be doing so again for the forseeable future. Tomorrow I will be cancelling my donations to them.

Let me tell you why.

For many years now quite a number of us on the libertarian right have made attempts to reach out to the broad left on issues of common concern. In my personal experience it was mainly for anti-war actions and campaigns. In every single case there would be at least one person amongst the left-wingers who would say that we "weren't allowed" to join them, and worse. I've known of so many attempts to hold out the Olive branch - and all from the right-libertarian - that have been rebuffed, and often with menaces.

I know this kind of attitude has put many of my libertarian and libertarian-leaning Tory friends off ever going to events run, or largely dominated, by lefties just for this very reason, even if the case for common cause is compelling and possibly necessary for any chance of victory. One of the clearest examples of shooting themselves in the foot in recent memory was in the battle over AV. The lefties refused to work with Farage and UKIP on this despite common cause. As a result the case for AV was seen largely as something exclusive popularised by the Guardian reading metropolitan lefty elite. And people were, it seems, right to think that. This is not to say had they made common cause the vote would have been won, but I suspect the pro-AV vote would not have been so embarrassingly small either, and the turnout perhaps a little better (and the debates from the AV side less childish too).

A couple of friends I'd mentioned the Orgcon to had already declined on the grounds that they didn't want to end up in an argument with left-wingers who would tell them that they were 'evil' and not welcome and blah blah blah. Yeah, you know the rest. But I thought I'd give it a go. I've been a supporter of ORG and their work for some time so now I'm based back in London I thought I'd finally make it to one of their major events.

Unfortunately I groaned almost as soon as I joined the - very long - queue to get in to the conference. Being the gregarious kind of chap I am I decided to start getting to know the people nearby in the queue. An older bloke behind me was ranting to a friend - I was about to say 'hi' but paused to listen first. He claimed, first, that the cuts on pensions would be 'given to the bankers at Canary Wharf' and second, claimed he had met a "right wing sociologist" whose secret task was - apparently - to "destroy the working class". It was a classic facepalm moment and I wondered if I was going to make it through the day without putting someone's head through a window.

Fortunately throughout the day I met a handful of friendly left leaning people with whom I found a lot of common ground. Interestingly they were generally older and also not UK natives. The two keynotes - by Cory Doctorow and Lawrence Lessig were particularly good and well worth watching when they go online. (I'm sorry I refuse to post links and give ORG traffic from this blog). Particularly notable was an argument made by Lessig - he made it clear that it was a mistake to regard these issues as left/right in any way and that the only division that mattered was those within the political class and those without. I thought he was very clear on this. Apparently not.

In the early evening most of the attendees went to the pub. Three libertarian pals joined me at the pub, though (lucky for them) two had to leave a little earlier at which point the two of us left retired to the back room of the pub to continue drinking and chatting.

It was then I encountered Nishma for the third time.

When she breezed in, whilst chatting to my friend, I passively noticed how the group of (white, males) reoriented around her and she became the centre of attention. That's nothing new in left-activist circles as I've observed over the years, though it is relevant for what was about to pass. Despite lots of fine rhetoric about being open minded and the women not wanting to be "objectified", that soons slips when it suits and I witness a ritual even more painful than most I've seen after 13 years of looking after nightclubs full of drunk idiots. I do honestly wonder how many of the men get laid in these circles and how dull their sex lives must be.

Anyway, I digress. Nishma was ranting loudly about Tory bastards this and Tory bastards that and at one point turned to the two of us and asked something about hating right wingers. I said 'well, there's two of us right here'. A stunned silence ensued until one of her compatriots said "libertarians". At which point she seemed to relax slightly. (The underlying implication being that whilst we had some credibility in their eyes, Tories were not allowed full stop! As many of you know there's no love lost between myself and the Tories but I still find much of the left attitude towards them utterly repugnant not to mention often completely wrong).

She then proceeded to tell us how libertarianism "excludes women of colour" (how?) and how everything was the fault of us evil white men. My (female) libertarian friend, to her eternal credit, then leapt to my defence and pointed out what a hypocrite Nishma was. Nishma then came out with the classic line we're all used to now that it isn't racist or sexist if it's white men we're talking about. Both of us started laughing at which point she also then said "and then there's colonialism too". The mutual recriminatory exchange only got worse from then on until she flounced out of the room.

At this point something inside me just gave. I'm done with putting up with this, or just putting it to one side for the perceived greater good. She was surrounded by four (white) men who - as per fucking usual in these groups - just passively accept this offensive concentrated bullshit. But of course they do - they all want to get into her pants and its hard work when the odds are 4 to 1 and they have to pay lip service to not "objectifying" her and taking their licks as "evil white men". If they were confident men and not emasculated craptivists they would have done one of two things - either i) backed up her position or ii) told her to stop being so offensive to almost everyone present and shut up. They did neither. They made a very quick exit, with one muttering "I'm getting out of here!". Fuck 'em. They're welcome to their sex starved lives of constantly having to self-flagellate for being white and male and beg for approval.

Now here's the second important bit:

Nishma Doshi is the Community and Events Organsier at the Open Rights Group.

She's responsible for PR, outreach and is the main point of contact for many people with ORG. As such she's very much a bona fide spokesperson for the organisation and just not some random nutter amongst the supporters.

As I mentioned, earlier I'd ecountered her already at least twice that day. She'd already said something offensive about everyone in the room being "white males" at one of the workshops but I let it slide again in the interests of getting something out of the session. No more. Other greatest hits from this white hot intellect included - in response to her being asked why she thought Boris Johnson was corrupt, it was because "he went to Eton" and during the "hacktivism" workshop she shared her - barely out of teens years of experience - clue for working out who the police informants and undercover agents were. They're socially awkward apparently. This was said to a room full of techie geeks.

With someone this openly bigoted, dogmatic, sexist and racist, following the usual cultural marxist script in such a sensitive position at ORG it is reasonable to assume that her views are at least passively tolerated.

Well that *is* intolerable to me, especially after having promoted and supported ORG for so long and joined in on their various campaigns.

So I'm sharing this blog with all of my libertarian and right wing friends and asking them to share further and boycott ORG unless and until Nishma Doshi no longer works for them and they release an official statement to the effect that they apologise and do not endorse her views and that people of all political persuasions (and white men) are welcome to get involved. I will be cancelling my donations to ORG tomorrow and writing them a formal letter explaining why and what it will take for me to consider ever associating with them again in future.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Orwellian breakdown of civil society in the UK

It had to happen eventually.

Myself or one of my friends would have to end up on the receiving end of one of these vendettas carried out by a nightmare family that most people only think could possibly exist in fiction like Eden Lake. Only it's not fiction is it. This happens to people daily across the UK who live in terror of their fellow "citizens" and are often left to suffer right up until the point someone is permanently injured or even killed.

He's a nice, well liked lad - an ex-soldier who always tries to do the right thing. Those of you who know me from Sheffield likely know him too. He was a Corp regular. He lives with his girlfriend and together their means are quite modest, so they live in "social" housing on one of Sheffield's less desirable estates. The cheaper rent enables them a few creature comforts - a few pets and a room for him to indulge in one of his favourite hobbies - making and painting airfix models.

Yet he has suffered a continual tirade of abuse, threats, assaults and damage to his property for over two years now from a family of neighbors who are - apparently -  above the law. He's done nothing to provoke it. He's just a big, distinctive looking lad trying to get by and mind his own business. As is usual in these kind of affairs, the council and police take less interest than they would in cleaning dogshit off the street. And - as always - this intimidation just continues to escalate.

He's gone out of his way to do the right thing over the last year - recording as many of these incidents as possible, whether with audio devices, videos, photos or keeping a diary of events. He has submitted this regularly to Sheffield City Council and the police, to be met with indifference at best and - unbelievably - outright hostility at worst. He's shown more patience and restraint than anything I think I could have endured without snapping.

About a week ago it started to come to a head. His girlfriend was badly beaten when on the way back from the local shop. She didn't even see her attackers and they didn't steal anything.

Then the night before last they put through the windows of their house and camper van.

Due to the escalating threats and violence, he installed a CCTV system and filmed them in the act. He has shared the images with a few of us and I post a sample up here with his permission:

They did this while they were in the house. The bricks apparently just missed the cats and dogs.

The only time they have received any direct assistance from the police is when they happened to be outside the house on one of the occasions when he was being abused by one of the neighbors. They gave her an £80 on the spot fine and she said - with police present - that she would "do something about it" and "didn't care about the cameras".

In some parts of the U.S. he could have rightfully shot these people. After the windows were smashed they of course phoned the police only to be told there was no one available to look for the perpetrators as they only had one car in the area. He has recorded evidence of them stating "we're going to firebomb you both".

Yet only now has the council moved, after she has been beaten and their windows have been put through and even then all they are offering to do is find them emergency housing with a month's wait. And apparently the cats and dogs can't come. PCSOs visited them last week and told them (also recorded) that they would not arrest the neighbors as "It would only make things worse". His girlfriend got a phone call from the police last night telling them to remove any gas bottles from the van or fuel cans, "they have had info its going to be firebombed". No police came to their assistance of course. As regular readers will know, South Yorkshire Police Farce will apparently only work fast when doormen are involved (an easy target, being licensed by the state), or a university technician who provides free anonymous web hosting. Everyone else can just go rot apparently.

And on that note, I wanted to briefly highlight two other recent occurences by contrast. Richard O'Dwyer is to be extradited to the U.S. to probably face 10 years in prison for "copyright infringement", only the basis of that accusation is extremely tenuous anyway. As many have noted previously, he set up a site that provided links to such content but did not host it itself. It's a dangerous precedent to have been set. And the extradition link is even more tenuous - the U.S. has laid claim to him because the domain name he used was registered with a U.S. based registrar. Meanwhile, a pub which has been trading under the name of 'The Hobbit' for two decades is now facing legal trouble because of - you guessed it - a copyright infringement claim.

Why do I mention these? It's to give consequence to the 'Orwellian' part of the blog title above. Our society has reached an unbearably kafkaesque stage where minor infractions of vagaries such as "copyright infringement" are vigorously pursued whilst people on the receiving end of threats, violence and outright property destruction are left to fend for themselves. That's when they're not being victimised under the guise of the European Arrest Warrant that is.

The situation I've outlined above simply cannot end well. It should never have reached this stage anyway, though there is almost certainly more to come. He has a few handy mates. Something will snap at some point and this will be dealt with the old fashioned way. At which point the victims and whoever comes to their defence will be blamed as per usual in this fucked up society that I no longer recognise.

Much of this scenario leaves me too speechless to comment further except to say one thing with certainty:

I do not want to grow old in this country.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Laying the ground for an assault on Freedom of Information

Reading the opinions of "civil servants" in the RearGuardian today, I see the ground is clearly being laid for an attack on the current status quo on the Freedom of Information legislation. Moreover, the complaints being made are coming from those with a direct conflict of interest (remember they were said to be "shit scared" at this proposed development previously).

It should be noted that a full on assault on FOI is in progress in Scotland (which has its own FOI commissioner).

Their claims deserve nothing less than a complete fisking:

"The Freedom of Information Act has failed to increase understanding of government"

- Utter crap. The majority of journalists and researchers may have failed to have used it, but the minority who have managed to use it to great effect and have pulled the curtain back on all sorts of issues. I think what the "civil servants" mean here is that it 'failed to increase a general appreciation of *their* understanding of government.'

"may have reduced trust"

- Well yes. Because it has served the essential role of exposing you - exactly as it was intended to do.

" and has done little to improve decision-making in Westminster"

- This at least may be true. Our Parliamentary Muppets certainly act as if they don't fear the outcome of a FOI request - I recently had one returned from the Cabinet Office that confirmed there was no 'draft treaty' for the Boy Cameron to have vetoed. It hasn't stopped the Tories repeating the lie continually. However, this is an issue of exposure as much as anything. They most certainly do fear exposure on Guido's site for example and there's no reason FOI responses could not contribute to some of his exposes.

"Civil servants are also calling for the introduction of higher fees for users of the act. The ministry suggests that the costs do "not adequately reflect the total amount of time spent in practice in compiling the information".

- OK so now you're trying to close this valuable tool down by pricing people out. If you kept better records it wouldn't be so onerous would it. Why do you keep such bad records? Because you know you're unlikely to be held to account for them. Oh.

"Research commissioned by the Ministry of Justice also found civil servants believed freedom of information was not being used to increase accountability, but instead by journalists fishing for a story."

- Fishing for a story? Really? For god's sake. Why is this considered illegitimate? It's not as if the journalists who submit FOI requests are the paparazzi.

"The report found: "It was well recognised by most that journalists have started to use other email accounts in requesting information as a way of masking the origin of the request."

- Diddums. I failed to read the part of the FOIA legislation that stated those making requests were obliged to identify themselves and their interests. You guys have got that Public servant <--> Public relationship the wrong way around again haven't you? Mendacious idiots.

"The chairman of the justice select committee, Alan Beith, said he was a supporter of the act, but added that he was aware some ministers and civil servants wanted to rein in what they regarded as a costly burden on the government."

- It's that relationship confusion again here isn't it? You're already a frighteningly bloated bureaucracy (not to mention increasingly redundant as the EU continues to encroach further). It is frankly offensive that being expected to be transparent and accountable is seen as a "costly burden".

"The report says: "Most officials agreed that the same issues would have been discussed and the same decisions reached had the FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] not been in place."

- Indeed. Because you don't actually care what we think. You'll go ahead anyway with your own plans. The way you administer (not to mention completely fail to publicise) "consultations" as pathetic exercises in  confirming what you were going to do anyway, is regular proof of that. At least with the FOIA us Proles get to see some of the inner workings you would rather not were exposed to sunlight.

"The memorandum finds a "very small proportion of the public requests information, whilst media coverage of FOI requests is rarely on policy-decision topics (ie it is far more likely to cover a topic like expenses, crime statistics and so on)".

- Given that you have already admitted you can't always identify journalists amongst the requests, how on earth do you provide this estimate? And yet again you cry like spoiled brats that the media narratives don't necessarily go your way. "Policy-decision topics"? Piss off!

"Overall, the ministry claims, there "is little evidence to suggest the FOIA has increased public participation in government. The number of individuals making requests is insignificant in terms of the UK population. Those who make requests are normally already engaged with government: campaigners, journalists and politicians for instance."

- Again. How in hell do you measure this? It has certainly increased my participation - and the participation of many people I know. And if the number of requests is "insignificant" relative to the population then STFU about how "onerous" it is. And the fact that most requesters are likely to be "already engaged with government" is not only redundant but also no surprise.

"The survey also revealed a frustration at the way in which "serial or vexatious requesters waste time and money by pushing their request through the internal review process and up to the information commissioner". Some believed that such cases should incur a higher fee at a lower threshold of civil service time."

- They just don't let up do they? Poor them, eh? The review process was in place to serve people who want the information, not those who have to provide it. And of course they generally only become vexatious if you stonewall them in the first place.

"The memorandum also suggests the cost of censoring documents for public consumption is so costly that more documents should simply be deemed to be too expensive to publish."

- What? You folks do have the use of computers, right? And aside from personal contact details, perhaps you should just censor *less* in the first place. It's not as if you have anything to hide. Is it?

"The report also cites evidence that some charities and non-profit service providers are holding back from using FOI requests out of fear that it will antagonise the public authorities they rely on for funding."

- Oh really? Is it ANY surprise at all given all the whining already cited above? I've actually wondered the same thing myself when submitting more than one FOI request to the same entity, despite the fact that I am fully within my rights to do so regardless of all other factors.

"Civil servants also claimed their internal discussions were being hampered by the act, saying "some people were recording less information and … internal communications had become less detailed and informative" than before freedom of information."

- Uh huh. And WHY would you want to avoid taking note of certain details?

"Ministry of Justice statistics show that central government departments currently receive a total of about 2,000-2,500 FOI requests a year,"

- W-what? 2-2.5 thousand? That's it?

"Nearly 700,000 requests had been made to local authorities between 2005 and 2010, with the number now reaching 200,000 a year."

- Ah. That's more like it. Quelle surprise - requesters are more interested in their local government. I suspect part of the reason is that Council Tax provides one of the government's few weakspots for collecting revenue (which is why their powers to claim it are so draconian). People might - just might - think they have legitimate reasons for with-holding payment given the multiple spending clusterfucks that Local government is famous for. This is something Richard North has been heroically chronicling for some time. They also - probably rightly - perceive that their local representatives are potentially more accountable and accessible unlike those in the Westminster bubble (and let's not mention the even more distant Brussells bubble, eh?)

After that torrent of Bilge, the top rated comment by davidabsalom at the RearGuardian does at least summarise it best:

"Well they would say that, wouldn't they."

Saturday, February 04, 2012

A CALL TO ARMS: London Atheist & Secularist student societies under attack

I know on occasions in the past I've asked you, dear readers and fellow bloggers to share something widely that needed wider exposure. Well this situation desperately requires that wider exposure and all the help we can provide, especially as the mass media are notably silent on the issue - very likely because of a self-censoring trend itself inspired by fear of what has befallen others.

As far as I'm concerned, a Rubicon has been passed here in British civil society. Our rule of law and civility has been tested on the litmus of Islamists getting their way through threats and censorship backed by threats and has been found wanting. And it has been found wanting where one of our supposedly safe and hallowed institutions is concerned - the free-thinking (or so we are told) university campuses of Higher Education. This has to be nipped in the bud, now.

You could be forgiven entirely for not having a clue what I'm talking about. So far the most prominent coverage has been in two Sunday comment pieces here and here.

Three separate University Atheist / Secularist student societies have come under attack from islamists. The two milder cases are those at UCL and the LSE.

Alex Gabriel summarises events well so far:

"What’s happened since the Jesus and Mo business started? Well: I’ve been told I’ll be beheaded. Rhys Morgan’s been told in more detail that he’ll be killed. Atheists at UCL have worried their parents will be attacked. Atheists at Queen Mary were told they’d be hunted down if they insulted Mohammad, including their president Jen Hardy who’s feared for her life in the last few days. Maryam Namazie made it sound like this wasn’t unusual in her line of work. All this, and LSESU have the cojones to say it’s Muslims they’re concerned about? If anybody currently requires a safe space, it’s us."

That's right. The worst event so far as been at Queen Mary two weeks ago - students had organised a talk on 'Sharia Law and Human Rights'. An Islamist thug turned up (with help apparently), filmed members of the audience and threatened violence against them if he heard of any "insult to the prophet".

Having now spent some time with the Queen Mary students to find out first hand what happened I can tell you that these kids are feeling not only scared, but also very isolated. Not only do the various students unions involved in these debacles appear to be uncritcially taking the Islamist side against all reason, demanding that the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist societies censor themselves or - in the case of LSE - face expulsion from the Union, but I've heard a number of them asking 'where is the left'?

The police have apparently told them that the worst that will happen is that the individual in question (never mind his mates waiting outside, or those who opened the fire doors in the hall so their pals could get in, or the two who were shouting, demanding to know "who drew the cartoons") is that he'll get an £80 fine. Apparently they can't take it any more seriously because the threat was prefaced with an "if" - i.e. 'if I hear the prophet has been insulted'. What complete and utter arseclownery from our Police Farce. No wonder things are continuing to race downhill at rapid speed in Tower Hamlets. I mean - why on earth would the students be scared, it's not as if there are recent precedents eh? (And with regard to Tower Hamlets itself - let's not forget this litany of shit)

Worse, one of the students discovered a forum where the "brothers" were discussing this intimidation. Whilst there are some calls for restraint, there are plenty of posts on there to send a chill up your spine - "who gave these kuffar the right to speak?" - anyone? To preserve people's anonymity and to also preserve this fuckwittery for posterity and hopefully future police investigation with a police force worth the name not compromised by politically correct Fabianism I have created a resource page with archived pages so there is no need to visit the forum itself (please avoid clicking on the links within the archived pages themselves as you'll end up at the Muppets' forum).

Well - it will come as absolutely no surprise to many readers of this blog  - it seems "the left" is either taking its default position of head in the sand, or worse - in several cases, siding with the Islamists against the students. One of the few noble exceptions to this is Harry's Place - who have kept a careful and critical eye on the ever worsening Islamist problem in the UK and in London (Tower Hamlets) in particular. What's more they attack this issue from the left and represent to me all the good things I thought the left were supposed to represent when I first took an interest in politics at the tender age of 18 many years ago - the same age a lot of these students are who are on the receiving end of this bullshit.

So - I want to appeal to my fellow bloggers - please spread the word on these incidents as these kids are being let down by ALL of the institutions that are supposed to protect them and help them - the police, the media, even their own student unions. And also, PLEASE help to publicise the rally next week in support of these students and anyone else who wants to maintain the right to free expression and NOT be violently threatened as a result.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


This post is in support of the anti-SOPA / PIPA actions that are about to start in the U.S.  Details of the "internet strike" are here. This blog, and the handful of sites I administer will also be joining the strike, which now includes big hitters such as Google, Wikipedia and Reddit.

Whilst SOPA has (for now) been put on ice, its sister bill, PIPA is still alive in the Senate. SOPA could quite easily return as it is on hold. Both need to be chopped up and burned, never to see the light of day again. Just like the Digital Economy Act here in the UK before it, though a much more far reaching version, it hands far too much power to copyright holders and will likely be used to censor huge swathes of the net. I say this as someone who supports IP / copyright in some form, though one who is still undecided on what the solutions might be - many aspects of the issue are intractable. What I do know is that concentrating power in the hands of copyright holders, who - in the case of SOPA / PIPA supporters - represent the old school mass media interests who really should realise that their time to die is long past and are desperately clinging on, is a terrifying and deeply wrong turn of events.

This video explains the mortal danger SOPA / PIPA poses to all of us, not just citizens of the U.S.

And if you think it doesn't directly affect Britons, just consider the fate of Richard O'Dwyer - if SOPA or PIPA pass, expect to see dozens if not hundreds more cases like his, and for a much milder "crime". It will surely include many of us in the blogosphere.

In solidarity with the sites that will be going into "blackout", all of my other posts will revert to 'draft' and be inaccessible for the duration of the draft - disappearing suddenly into the ether in exactly the same way that many sites will if SOPA / PIPA pass.

Join the strike! If you have no sites to 'black out' then help to raise awareness if you can.

And one last thing that has been lost in the drama of SOPA / PIPA is that the DEA has now officially been ruled compatible with EU law. Expect a fight on our hands very shortly on our own shores as it is enforced.....