THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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September 2013

Snouts in the snout-shaped trough again

The new MPs’ Expenses Scandal | Trending Central.

Both the law firms where I was a partner had anti-nepotism policies. We couldn't employ our own or each other's relatives. If we married someone from the firm, one of us had to leave. Why? I am sure it was often the case that, as these MPs who have never been in the real world say, that we could have trusted our wives or husbands or sons or daughters "over anyone else". It would always have been true that " is far easier to employ someone you know that get someone else in...".

Our legal advice to ourselves was that as predominantly white males, if we recruited our own families we would be liable to be accused of race discrimination, for example. Our business advice to each other was that the inconvenience of being forced to look outside our family circles would be balanced by an increase in mutual trust, an ability to critique each other's teams when necessary for quality control and a generally higher standard of staff to better serve our clients.

So we went to the market and tried to find the best candidates we could regardless of race, colour, creed or sex. Meanwhile, our legislators carry on as if they were unaware of the regime they imposed on British business. They behave like the parodies of cruel Victorian employers they seem to have in mind when they 'regulate' us. And it goes without saying, isolated as they are from the realities of a competitive market place, that they don't give a tinker's curse about quality. If they would even recognise it that is. From what I see of them, when they are not actually being malicious and/or corrupt, they are mostly just bumbling narcissists.

Were they just taking the piss when they passed these laws? Or when they enacted a minimum wage but pay any staff with whom they share no DNA carrots or hire them for nothing as 'interns'? It's hard to believe they are sincere about their laws when they flout them at every opportunity when their own financial interests are at stake. They love to pontificate about celebrities and sportsmen being 'role models' when that will get their ugly mugs on the goggle box, but what about the example they set? Hypocrites to the bone, the lot of them.

I can't say this too often. It's not a bug, it's a feature. Everything funded by force - and that includes Parliament - tends towards corruption. Only those who can't be a successful beast in the jungle of the real world are attracted to the parasitic delights of living on the jungle fauna. And usually only those with serious character defects are attracted to the exercise of power over others, rather than freedom in their own lives.

The critical importance of football chants

BBC Sport - FA threat to fans over anti-Semitic term in chants.

Apparently it's a criminal offence in this country for football fans to call themselves 'yids'. Personally, I think the way Jewish and Gentile Spurs fans have together handled anti-semitic abuse by using and 'owning' the word 'yid' in their chants is marvelous. It's a great example of how to handle provocation gracefully and with good humour. Laughing at those trying to provoke you is just as - if not more - effective than responding with violence. Sadly, the Football Association begs to differ. Violence is apparently the only proper response in its view and if Spurs fans are not prepared to offer it then - via the legal system - it will.

This, says the FA, is because a 'reasonable observer' would find the word 'yid' offensive. I disagree. Frankly, even when its intended to be offensive (e.g. when other fans shout it at Spurs games) it's a mere breach of good manners, unworthy of criminal sanction. I actively prefer ignorant people to be as open about their nastiness as possible - wearing Ku Klux Klan robes or swastikas, ideally - so that I know not to buy them a drink, employ them or give them my custom. It would be just the kind of useful indication already thoughtfully given by wearers of Che Guevara T-shirts.

When I worked for a Jewish law firm, I refused to reveal whether I was Jewish myself because I learned so much about the occasional client or professional contact who really felt he needed to know. The more desperately he questioned my colleagues on the subject, the more I knew I didn't value him. It was very educational.

We have about 120,000 professional criminals who need to be locked up and about 80,000 places in prison. Is it really all that reasonable to set a criminal free to make space for a Spurs fan with a sense of humour?

It's not a bug, it's a feature

NHS hospital death rates among worst, new study finds - Channel 4 News.

It's a good job I am unlikely to reach my maximum age in this country, because I don't think I could stand many more years of listening to the bureaucrats in Britain's soviet healthcare system. 

Here they are again, expressing surprise about its performance comparing badly with other countries. They pause for a second to sound shocked, promise to do better in future and then return to platitudes about 'our NHS' and how it is admired (no it bloody isn't) 'all over the world'. Within a minute they are using whatever horrors have been exposed to justify extorting more money from taxpayers to improve their own working conditions, pay and pensions.

Any service funded by force does not need to satisfy its customers to survive. Many of its employees will rapidly cease to care about them, because they don't need to. It's not a bug, it's a feature. Whatever pieties the politicians and bureaucrats may recite such an organisation - in practice - is not there to serve the patients, but the staff.

As witness the career of Sir David Nicholson, poly history and politics grad (odd qualification to run a health service) and 'tankie' member of the British Communist Party until the shamefully late date of 1983 (ah, there's the qualification). He presided over mass deaths (compared to the performance of other countries' systems) and yet will retire next year a rich man. If he had faced the downside as well as the upside of a soviet aparatchik's life - the sort of management a 'tankie' might be expected to approve of - he would have been shot or spent serious time in the gulag. Under Britain's softer socialist state, it was reported in 2011 that he enjoyed benefits of £37,000 and claimed expenses of almost £60,000 on top of his salary of £200,000+.

Interestingly, the monster expenses were for a London flat. He was required to work in the capital, though his main office is in Leeds. However his home is in Broome, Worcestershire. By Google Maps calculations his 124 mile commute to London was therefore an improvement on that to Leeds! And let's not dwell on the happy coincidence that the NHS found a high-paid and no doubt better-pensioned job as head of Birmingham Childrens' Hospital for the woman for whom he left his wife.

It's a tough life being a British aparatchik, isn't it?

As for why the American system these mandarins despise so much kills so many fewer patients, the answer is simple enough. The medics there answer to patients, not bureaucrats. And the truth about any failures of care is available for them to learn from, not suppressed by aparatchiks to flatter the politicians and bamboozle the proles.

Remembering 9/11

There are no more words to say. This image - by Ira Block, the lead tutor at the photographic course I attended in NYC earlier this year - says it all for me today.

Here's to the memory of those who fell and to the families who still suffer the consequences. And here's to finally understanding that sacrificing liberty in pursuit of security is just to hand freedom's enemies their victory. God bless America and guide her leaders from their wrong-headededness.

The Groucho Marx test for politicians

BBC News - Huhne: Speeding story was 'payback' for criticism of Murdoch press.

Chris Huhne demonstrates once again that anyone who wants to join the Westminster Club is not fit to be a member. Note the Huhne-centric view of the Universe here. Note the astonishing sense of self-importance. He committed a crime. He involved his wife. He lied about it consistently. He made his own son hate him with his selfish, dishonest behaviour. He was caught out and mild justice was administered. Yet all of this was not his fault. It was all about him though, in that it was a wicked conspiracy by his political foes to bring him down from the dizzy lows of Lib-Demmery. 

Please apply palm to face and repeat after me: 'Only vain, wicked people want a job taking others' money by force to spend on buying votes'

'Never go through life saying you should have'


This is what we have lost in Britain; I fear forever. The Welfare State has convinced many of us that we are not the answer to each other's problems. Yet in America, as I saw in Moore OK on my recent tour, the first instinctive reaction to a crisis is still 'what can I do?'

The men in this video are ordinary blokes. Working stiffs. The kind of people my condescending metropolitan friends believe unable to run their own lives without constant government 'help'. The call went out for boats and they turned up in their hundreds. At their own expense. At the risk of their own lives.

They didn't ask if it was their problem or what the governement was going to do. They didn't ask what approved group the people they helped belonged to, or what approved thoughts they might have. They acted on their best instincts, and their only reward is that - as they say in the video - they had the best day of their lives; the day of which they can most be proud.

Not for them, existential angst. They know what their lives are for.

Nearly five hundred thousand people were evacuated by boat in less than nine hours. I had no idea that it happened until I was sent this film today. Yet it was the greatest seaborne evacuation in history; bigger even than Dunkirk. Like Dunkirk, it wasn't ordered by anyone. It wasn't funded by force. People needed help and other people responded, at their own willing risk. It's utterly magnificent.

Never let anyone tell you that humanity is so defective that 'kindness' must be enforced. When someone says that, it says nothing about humanity and everything about them.

H/T an American friend.

Thought-crime in Britain

BBC News - The hidden epidemic of hate crime

WarispeaceWhen I was asked, a year after my return to Britain, what was the biggest change I had noticed, I answered that the police now seem more interested in what you say than what you do. The notion of freedom of speech, thought and conscience has been replaced with an ill-thought-through and damaging idea of 'not causing offence' and not being a 'hater.'

In its worst form, this new doctrine is expressed in the notion of 'hate crime;' the Orwellian concept of 'thought crime' disguised with Orwellian euphemism. Read the BBC piece linked above and - if you are steeped in the new doctrine - you will be wondering if I want the right to attack the property and persons of people who are 'different.' That's the conventional response to any challenge to the new 'thinking', as well as being a prime example of it.

I claim no such right. Nor did I ever have one before the law was changed. Every assault, every item of damage described in the linked piece was always a crime under English Law. Even in less tolerant eras, when goths, gays and others who were 'different' by nature or choice could expect a hard time, it was a crime to kill them, assault them or destroy their property. The police might have needed to consider motivation in order to identify the accused and bring him to court, but the jury did not need to consider it in deciding his guilt nor the judge in determining his sentence.

The root of this doctrine is that certain motives make crimes worse. Yet, if I am being beaten to death, my suffering will be no worse if it's because my assailants are prejudiced against the heavy or tall 'communities'. Consider this thought experiment; you are gay and you are being beaten to death by a homophobe. You take some time to die from your wounds. With your dying breaths you convince him not to hate gays anymore. Are you less dead? The assault was the problem to you, not the thought behind it. 

It may not do so at the moment (ironically because the same 'intellectuals' who have given us the notion of 'hate crime' have found 'social' excuses for less 'misguided' criminals) the law is perfectly capable of dealing with violent crimes. It defines them clearly and could punish them vigorously. But the criminals' motives should always be irrelevant to guilt and sentencing because any other approach is unjust.

For once my argument is rooted in a concept dear to the hearts of the leftist 'intellectuals' behind this nonsense; equality. I believe in equality before the law and the 'hate crime' doctrine is inimical to that. If every man and woman (trans or cis) is equal before the law then this follows logically. If the same wrong is done to any of them, the legal consequence must be the same.

Kill me or kill my gay friend. Assault me or assault my goth friend. Be culpably negligent in the crowd control at a Fulham match or at a Liverpool match and the legal outcome should be the same. The law should be utterly blind to our sexual orientation, the way we present ourselves to the world and whether or not we are Scousers convinced that we hang on a unique cross of Liverpudlian suffering.

Nothing could be more obvious or more just, but this stupid doctrine of hate-crime is engineering the precise opposite. In terms of justice then, it makes no sense. That's because it is designed to achieve something quite different. It is designed to chill free speech. Before you utter a word, serious or in jest, you are now supposed to hesitate fearfully and consider whether you may be guilty of 'hate speech'. Because if you are, you can now expect this.

I know it's hard for many steeped in Fabian propaganda to grasp, but the monster in that Daily Mail story is not Old Holborn. I have had a couple of drinks with him and read his blog regularly. He goes too far sometimes by my standards of good taste and good manners, but I defend without reservation his right to express and publish his views, satirical or not. It is - or should be - shocking that in modern Britain his jokes about, and mockery of, Scousers should expose him to criminal sanctions. The only crimes in the story are those threatened by the totalitarian scum campaigning to silence him.

OH is a bad example because I support his views. I understand his desire to use shock tactics to expose and challenge the use of state force to chill freedom of expression. It's easy to support the free speech of those you mostly agree with. So let's be clear that I also support the rights of far nastier people too. Racists, anti-semites, homophobes, Fabians and self-pitying Liverpudlians* are also entitled to express their views, however odious they may be. Though not, of course, to act upon them in any violent way.

Hate-crime and political correctness (insofar as reflected in law) are two aspects of the same insidious doctrine. Together they make thought-crime, as predicted by George Orwell. For the sake of all of us - of whatever colour, creed or sexual inclination - that must be resisted.

*Me gran was a scouser and I have supported Liverpool FC all me life (though I have a Fulham season ticket now coz even in Chiswick me car's already parked too close to the 'Pool for my liking) so get over it.

Back in the charts

I don't go in much for statporn here. Goodness knows it would be unstimulating stuff compared to the big boys at the top of the blog charts. I dropped out of the ebuzzing blog charts during my American trip because - presumably - my happy burblings didn't trigger comments, links, tweets and all the other things their algorithms measure.

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 09.34.54Having resumed my normal more dour service however, The Last Ditch has stormed thirty places or so up the charts to the top of the bottom third of the top hundred.

My ego is not much engaged in that, but it's always good to know that my efforts here are read and appreciated.

Thank you to all who commented, linked and tweeted to such effect.

True to their vicious type » Blog Archive » Can Ed win support for state funding of political parties?.

Once again politicians are floating the idea of more state funding for their conspiracies parties. There is a reason political parties are losing members. They do no appeal to ordinary voters, but only to fanatics and obsessives. As long as they have alternative sources of funding, they will never look to build their memberships because, in a true mass party, the majority would oppose those now in control.

I am rarely in favour of banning anything but I believe no political party should be allowed to receive money from non-members. Anyone giving to a political party, whether they are a corporation, trade union or individual, will expect some return. That is corruption and should always be a crime. As for the current state funding - running to millions for the established parties - it is also intrinsically corrupt. It excludes other parties and anyway the people in power should not be abusing their position to vote themselves taxpayers' money.

The only income available to political parties should be from membership dues, constituency fund-raising events and sales of publications and memorabilia. Would they survive if such a system were adopted? Yes, but only by turning their backs on corruption and extortion and building mass memberships again.Why does that prospect sicken them so?