Labour’s Law and Order


Labour has changed the law, and free-born Englishmen and women can no longer walk a few hundred paces down the Queen’s pavement to Downing Street to protest at the closure of their local hospitals.

This government seems to suffer from a kind of schizophrenia in its approach to the Criminal Justice System

I want them to worry about the whereabouts of these thugs and creeps, and on that matter they showed a profound indifference

Labour’s law – just squawk loudly and take no action

It was when the policeman coughed quietly at my shoulder and said that I was breaking the law that I knew the game was up. When you get to my stage in life, you cease to get that thrill out of being arrested. I had to turn and face the throng, who were trying to march with me from College Green, Westminster, to Downing Street. Sorry, folks, I was forced to announce.

About turn! Labour has changed the law, and free-born Englishmen and women can no longer walk a few hundred paces down the Queen’s pavement to Downing Street to protest at the closure of their local hospitals.


Actually, I had to bawl the message at the top of my lungs, because Labour’s new measures against civil protest mean that you cannot use a loudhailer. As we all saw at the Labour Party conference, you can’t heckle a cabinet minister any more without the risk of being arrested under section 44 of some swingeing new anti-heckler act.

You can’t smoke in public. You can’t legally hunt foxes, in the way that people have been doing in this country for hundreds of years. Naturally, I lack the courage to smack my own children, but anyone who is forced to that regrettable expedient will find that new laws proscribe any chastisement that leaves bruising or discoloration.

If you try to stop an inspector pushing his way unexpected into your kindergarten, you face a fine of £2,500. You can have your DNA held on a government database, and very shortly you will no longer be able to apply for a new passport without being obliged to fork out vast sums for an ID card. You can’t replace your own window in your own home without some kind of inspection, and you certainly can’t change a switch in the kitchen.

You can’t put a union flag on your locker without the risk that you will be prosecuted for racial discrimination. You can be extradited to the United States without any prima facie evidence that you have committed a crime at all, let alone in America. You can lose your driving licence for a collection of comparatively trivial speeding offences, provided that they have all been recorded on camera.

You can’t say anything that might be construed as inspiring “religious hatred”, even though the Koran is full of stuff that plainly falls into that category. You can’t “glorify” terrorism, even though there are plenty of people in this country who have just celebrated the anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916. You can’t even say that a police horse is “gay” without being arrested and prosecuted for homophobia.

And yet, if you are a foreign criminal, and you are convicted of a very serious offence such as murder or rape, you can serve your time in a British jail and then just melt back into the landscape to re-offend, even though the courts may have specifically ordered that you be considered for deportation.

Anyone looking at Charles Clarke yesterday, and listening to his tragic statement, will have been baffled above all by the inconsistency. This government seems to suffer from a kind of schizophrenia in its approach to the Criminal Justice System. On the one hand it seems to be ostentatiously tyrannical, and never happier than when criminalising some course of human conduct.

In the past eight years, Labour has created between 700 and 1,000 new criminal offences, and the jails are now so full that prisoners are bunking up in police cells and being shuttled around the country. Which makes it all the more incredible that in this basic matter of protecting the public the Home Office should act with this ineffable apathy. How can it be?

How can such unbelievable lassitude afflict a government that is supposed to be tough on crime? The answer, of course, is that the Government is not so much interested in being tough on crime, as in being seen to be tough. It is not about the results; it is not about the exact legal effect of the Bills they enact.

It is about the mood music, the reassuring psychological impact on the poor frightened voter of all this government legislation being pushed through the Commons with symphonic vigour, even if it has very little impact on criminals or terrorists.

That is why Blair humiliated Clarke, and insisted that there should be a ban on “glorifying” terrorism. He knew that it was a semantic mush; he knew that it would be impossible to enforce, or at least arbitrary in the enforcement. But he also knew that the focus groups wanted something to be done about the “preachers of hate”, and though there was already plenty of useful law on the statute book, he wanted something to show, and the miserable Clarke delivered it.

Labour continues to use ever more new legislation as a kind of rhetorical tool, a parliamentary squawk to indicate its attitudes, while totally neglecting to use and enforce the existing law. It didn’t care about the 1,023 foreign criminals who were released back into the community, because they were covered by existing legislation. These criminals couldn’t form the basis for some new headline-grabbing measure or eye-catching initiative.

Their deportation was part of the grindingly hard and tedious business of government, and yet the Home Secretary does not even know where they are, or how he or his services can hope to find them again.

This is a government that is in the process of setting up an insane Common Agricultural Policy-style database of every child in the country. That’s right: hundreds of millions of pounds are to be spent on a register of the details of millions of blameless, innocent unthreatened children, because the Children’s Lobby wants it, and the Government is keen to push out an initiative called “Every Child Matters”.

There surely, is all the evidence you need that the Government is in the last stages of schizophrenia. They insist on knowing the whereabouts of all our children, up to the age of 18, while 1,000 criminals roam free. I don’t want them worrying about where to find my children; I want them to worry about the whereabouts of these thugs and creeps, and on that matter they showed a profound indifference.

171 thoughts on “Labour’s Law and Order”

  1. Boris has really hit the nail on the head this time. But maybe a dagger would be more appropriate tool than a nail on this one, and maybe it is time to twist that proverbial dagger deep into the heart of this useless government.

    So part of what we are discussing is how New Labour is more concerned about introducing new legislation to tackle crime rather than enforce existing legislation. Let’s now look at one of the most hideous crimes being committed in our country (and across the EU). I’m talking about the sexual exploitation of young women by organised crime gangs.

    Imagine, you are a young, beautiful woman living somewhere in the Balkans. Looking to better your lot in life you naively reply to a small advertisement that purports to be seeking young women like yourself to work as a cleaner in Britain. Next thing you know you have been kidnapped. You are smuggled out of your homeland to Italy. You are beaten, you are systematically raped and tortured by your captors. You are smuggled up through Western Europe to the UK where you are forced to work as a prostitute for an evil gang of vicious thugs.

    What are the government doing to help you? There are talking about it, they are consulting, they are minded to introduce some new legislation. If you think I am wrong then click below and read for yourself.

    http://press.homeoffice.gov.uk/press-releases/consult-human-traffic

    Is running a brothel illegal? You bet! Is kidnapping illegal? You bet! Is rape or sexual abuse illegal? You bet! Torture? Highly illegal! Would it be difficult to enforce these laws, to locate these houses of misery operating in our midst, rescue these poor women and prosecute these lowlife, psychopathic, evil scumbags? I don’t believe it would be.

    Look through the small ads in your local papers under ‘massage’. Look in your yellow pages. Look around central London at the little cards in the telephone boxes. Search on the internet. Brothels advertise, they have to in order to make money! Can the Police not simply phone these numbers, pose as a client and locate the address? Can they not then storm into these slave-shops, armed if necessary? Can they not then rescue the prisoners and use them as witnesses to send the evil scumbags that do this to prison for a very long time? (Hopefully deporting them after their release but don’t bet on it).

    I’m no expert in Police work and am very open to suggestions why this is not the case. I have a sneaky suspicion that it is more likely that the Police already know where these places are and are doing nothing to put an end to the miserable plight of the girls, often fellow European citizens of ours, that are forced into this barbaric world of sexual slavery.

    It’s not only the dozen or so convicted foreign rapists and murderers that we need to worry about. What about the dozens of un-convicted serious criminals that are advertising their sick services in your local rag?

  2. Boris has many good points, and I’m completely behind him here, but as a Tory he’s utterly hamstrung when it comes to tactics of civil disobedience.

    I had to turn and face the throng, who were trying to march with me from College Green, Westminster, to Downing Street. Sorry, folks, I was forced to announce.

    Of course he could be forced to turn back, but no law on the planet required him to inform all of the other people thusly. Or in louder than a whisper. And he could have let the cops deal with the billions of swarming protesters.

    I don’t know how it works over in the UK, but in Canada quite frequently the cops get tired of being the politicians’ muscle, and follow only, and literally, the letter of the law.

    a primer

  3. Another commonsense piece.

    And quite right, more attention does need to be concentrated on pinpointing the thugs, creeps, and other [plentiful] deviates and yobs [collectively – vermin].

    And one day, they might even be charged and convicted. Perhaps Boris could handpick some reliable vigilantes.

  4. Steven, you’ve made an interesting point. “White slavery” is always good for headlines, and thankfully the papers have taken this craven approach. At least it’ll do some good while they’re on it. Meantime, study after study shows that the way to combat it is to prosecute the customers rather than the providers of sexual services.

    You might be interested in this woman, whom I interviewed a few years ago for a book: Jamie Lee Hamilton. Madam. Activist. City Council Candidate. Phenomenon. Both of her parents were world-renowned union organizers, and they bred true. Only she’s organizing street prostitutes.

  5. Peter,

    You are only allowed to vote for one of them though. I wanted to vote for all five!

    Went for Jowell in the end. That photoshoot playing roulette and her ‘casinos shouldn’t only be for the rich’ rubbish being the reason.

    I like to go to the casino, they have a quiet bar thats open all night, have Sky TV that no-one watches. That means I can watch aussie cricket over a few beers all night. I do have an occasional flutter and usually lose £20 in the process.

    Another thing you can watch in casinos is new people coming there, always being there gambling non-stop every single time you pop in and then a few months later going and banning themselves at reception because they have lost everything they owned.

    (Another good thing about casinos is that the girls who work there aren’t allowed to date customers, which makes you about 10 times more attractive to them!)

  6. I have heard that Blair’s government is going to legalize prostitution, is that right, Steven L? It’s said anyone can use their own house as a brothel. People are very unhappy and already against the idea of having a brothel next door to them. But some husbands may be pleased as always!

  7. I don’t know. I’ve just read newspaper reports about it all and thought about it to myself.

    Use the Freedom of Information Act 2005 to ask them how you can find out if you are interested.

  8. Englishmen can no longer do anything, Boris, as Labour has been quite successful at wiping out any notion of England and branding the English racists (anyone remember Jack Straw’s comments?).

    I suggest a new policy of mass protest outside every event, conference and publicity-minded appearance that any M.P. representing the Labour Party makes. They’d soon wet themselves at the negative publicity this policy would generate for their party and might well be persuaded to change their minds about the law prohibiting protests outside Parliament. No? Perhaps not. I’m dreaming. There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that they’d care about the people whom they are supposed to represent and there is no way to get rid of them. What a sorry state this country has become.

  9. Andy, I like your policy suggestion.

    I have another one. Englishmen all learn archery again and all own a longbow to protect ourselves from ‘vermin’ (to borrow from David’s terminology above).

  10. Labour’s law and order

    I wish it was just Labour. My TORY MP voted for a complete ban on smoking in public spaces. As did other Tories. And Lib Dems.

    I think that, in part, it’s because there isn’t any serious debate. I read the smoking debate in Hansard, and was appalled at the shoddiness of it. I think that what happens is that a public mood is created that Something Must Be Done about asylum seekers/ avian flu/ global warming/ teenage sex/ etc, etc. The Guvmint then rushes through some botched piece of legislation through parliament, just to show that it’s Doing Something. The legislation only makes things worse. But in the mean time, there’s a new hue and cry that Something Must Be Done About something else, and the whole exercise gets repeated.

  11. “Labour has changed the law, and free-born Englishmen and women can no longer walk a few hundred paces down the Queen’s pavement – – ”

    What really surprised me was that you said that forbidden word “Englishmen ” ( and Englishwomen ) . I gave up caring what the happens in the celtic areas of the ” United ” Kingdom a while back . To describe them as arrogant ,self centred , overprivileged , whingeing , professional victims is to understate the case .
    England and the English are massively discriminated against in this modern ” britain ” – the sooner we take back control of our own affairs via an English Parliament and get shot of any influence over us of the British parliament , the better .
    We can then pick and choose which bits of ” britain ” we might care to continue to bother about – on a non Barnett Rules basis of course !

  12. I’m sorry Boris, but it does need to be pointed out that your name is missing from this list:

    Serious Organized Crime and Police Bill — Demonstrating without authorisation in a designated area — 7 Feb 2005 at 22:00 — Commons Division No. 74

    But that doesn’t necessarily single you out, as the Conservative turnout was only 31.7%.

    I also bring glad tidings…

    The legislation does not ban loudhailers/megaphones specifically… it bans the use of *loudspeakers* (i.e forms of *electronic* amplification).

    Therefore the law does not apply to good old-fashioned conical megaphones like this.

    I’m sure you can make up for your absence at the critical vote (futile as such an exercise may have been) by popularising the use of such devices.

    🙂

    Cheers

  13. Idlex, I wanted to give up smoking before they banned it.

    Now when it comes in I’m just gonna make a point and buy all my fags from France.

  14. John’s quite right Boris, this high handed approach and the profligate use of “English” and “man”/”women” in your prose is utterly intolerable.

    “Britishperson” in future if you please and be smart about it before I call the PC Police!

    (I would accept “Britisher” or “Britron”. You mustn’t use Briton because that implies some level of cultural heritage)

  15. Boris is a Turko-American immigrant; you can’t hold him to these standards! Poor boy does well enough with translating his writing into American!

  16. “Britishperson” in future if you please (Joe M)

    This discriminates against non-human life forms, such as animals and plants. So it’ll have to “Britishorganism” or “Britorg” in future.

  17. Steven L,

    Smoking is becoming a gesture of defiance, and a symbol of resistance in our grim age.

    But I noticed recently that the powers of darkness have failed to secure their next Orwellian goal, which is the banning of scenes depicting smoking on TV and in theatres.

    However, I’m sure that some piece of medical research will be conjured up to show that people who see smoking on TV are 2.3 times more likely to die of heart attacks than people who don’t, and MPs will promptly stampede through the lobbies to vote to ban smoking on TV.

  18. Is it just me or is Blair just taking the mickey and trying to give Gordon Brown a nervous breakdown before he goes?

    On TV last night I’m sure that they showed an interview he did where he said ‘people should stop whinging and complaining’.

    Bearing in mind the fact he sent Hewitt to get abused then trapsed down to a gym in his jogging suit to say something along the lines of ‘if we did more exercise then we wouldn’t need to go to hospital’.

    You can’t blame the guy for thinking that his cabinet are a bunch of useless no-hopers and that people who vote labour regardless are idiots after all can you?

    I think I’m actually starting to like the guy.

    This could get seriously funny!

  19. I’m going to hold my hand up and say that Blair had me going up until about 2003. I would have voted for him in 2001 but didn’t bother to.

    I don’t consider myself an easy person to con either. Is anyone else that wants rid of this government prepared to hold their hands up and tell the blog how long he had them fooled for?

  20. Steven,
    He had me fooled until the fuel forecourt blockades (2002?).

    When I saw the state he was in (because he had a real crisis to sort out which couldn’t be ‘spun-away’) I thought “If this guy worked in the private sector he’d be fired in three months.”

    (Or less before idlex bursts out laughing at me.)

    By the way idlex, I really like ‘Britorg’ but what about the rocks and inorganic stuff?

    How about ‘BritThing’?

  21. He had me fooled until 2002 when the Iraq war propaganda campaign started, and it all somehow just didn’t add up.

    I think that was after the fuel blockades – so Joe can laugh at me instead.

    But really, in retrospect, I should have seen that these guys couldn’t run a p*ss-up in a brewery after the foot-in-mouth (not sure that’s how it’s spelt, but it’ll do) debacle.

    what about the rocks and inorganic stuff?

    Ah, that would be British Chemical Substances, or Brit Chem Subs, or Britches.

  22. Praise be that someone in a position to make a noise has finally done so about the most intrusive and unwarranted intervention that is the Children’s Database.

    Home educators have long been making any number of cogent arguments against the database. Perhaps at last they have some reason to hope that the general public will also wake up, since every UK family with young children is about to become subject to the most gross intrusion – almost always for absolutely no reason and at great expense to themselves.

    And if that’s not bad enough, unbeknownst to most of parents, they are about to lose, as a result of arcane bits of the Education and Inspections Bill (with, for example, the two day minimum delay in de-registration), the principle of responsibility for the education of their children.

    That’s bad both for parents and for the state. Bad for parents because in preventing parents from de-registering their children on demand, and therefore preventing parents from being able to choose the place of education for their child, the state has established a precedent of assuming responsibility for the education of children, and doing all this without the consent of voters. So we are only talking about a minimum of two days, but the principle of the erosion of parental responsibility for education is well and truly established.

    Luckily it’s bad for the state too because in assuming responsibility for the education of our children, you can bet your life we will sue their butts off when little Johnny doesn’t get his straight A’s.

  23. You people aren’t reading this closely enough. It refers to “Englishmen and women.” Meaning women of all nationalities. So you have to stick to the more specific word and will have to keep your Brit-things to yourselves for now.

  24. Perhaps Carlotta’s remarks would have much more cogency if , for example, the figures for truancy were different. Whilst the vast majority of parents strive to ensure that their children, no matter how Shakespear-like they might unwilling creep , snail -like to school, they do get there and stay there until such times that they are freed upon a once, ( but not any more), unsuspecting public.

    Meanwhile , despite the Government spending, over the past few years, a billion pounds of taxpayers’ money in trying to cut truancy, where are the offspring of those parents , either not caring , willing or able to ensure that their children attend school during the appointed times?

    Apart from the non-education in curriculum subjects that these children are afforded, there is the cost in “lost” education to the nation , amounting to as much as £ 1.6 billion per year , according to some reports.

    There needs to be some national register to monitor the trend towards higher truancy, Knowsley , for example has a figure of approx. 3.4% truancies, followed closely by Tower Hamlets and showing a slight downward trend through various inner city areas ,( average about 1.8%), until at the very bottom of the list ; The Scilly Isles, with 0% .

    Compared to the relatively slight difficulty of having a deregistration period of 2 days , I would consider the continuous education of the British children in totality to be a much more desirable goal.

  25. McCarnie, you are right to point to the problem of immense spending on truancy sweeps. It is also clear from figures gathered by Action for the Rights of Children that this spending has had a negligable effect on the numbers of truants.

    So it seems you propose yet more spending on yet more databases, ie: more initiatives to codify a failing system that do nothing to address the needs of children disaffected by schooling.

    With regard to the minimum two day delay, we have been lead to believe by Dave Fletcher at the DfES, that schools and LEAs will not harrass or prevent parents from home educating, in which case it is hard to understand how it will make a huge difference to the issue of truanting.

    We therefore must take it that if the DfES thinks that such a move will make a difference to truant numbers, then they are offering these reassurances disingenuously. This will then mean that plenty of parents who take the responsible decision to educate their children outside the school system will be even more harrassed than they are already (when the law provides even less scope for such illegitimate behaviour by the authorities.)

  26. We also cannot ignore the effect on children – the very positive effect of discipline, the cane has on children, and when they get home being smacked so that it DOES leave a mark you can cradle in your bedroom, through your tears while thinking ‘shit, I won’t do THAT again’

    It’s also very cheap and never did me ANY harm EVER. Girls didn’t get the cane though, we got the ruler across the hand or detention. Detention was great.

  27. If we are speaking solely on the topic of home education; and it was not clear if that were the case; if the parent is proficient in the subjects required by law in the National Curriculum, and is able to exhibit to the necessary authority( ies) , at the time of the necessary examinations that this is the case , it would , I am sure have a positive effect on a select amount of , but not all, children. There is always the experience of group living ,working and and playing; social skills all ; which are so important in a young person’s education.

    I was certainly not banging the drum about useless waste of Public Monies; however, since each school does have a ” database” in the form of a register or registers, it would not cost the earth to collate the available data at one central computer , thus IMMEDIATELY giving the truancy figures for any individual area at the touch of a button, thus helping to cut the overall cost of monitoring the whereabouts, legitimate or otherwise , of the children during schooltime.

    There is the huge problem , especially in inner city areas , where information on unsanctioned absences from school takes time to reach those concerned with dealing with that particular problem, and this , coupled with the seemingly common unwillingness of the local education authorities to bring parents of habitual truants to court, is where the problem lies : not in those areas of sanctioned absences, or indeed children tutored at home. The sad fact is , some , albeit extremely few , parents do not care if their children go to school or not. The children of this minority need help.

  28. Boris, if only your party leader would repeat your comments. Instead he is off playing with dogs in the cold whilst criminals reign free.

    Law & order (short term) is more important then green issues. Tell him to get his priorities right.

    Boris for PM.

  29. Lennie

    Love the poll on your blog.

    I’m tempted to say ‘Boris for King’ but I respect the Queen to much for her sterling work over the years to actually be a serious advocate of that sentiment.

    I do think however it is good that Mr Cameron highlights green issues in his local elections campaign as this is an issue that I believe is best tackled locally in our communities.

    I don’t want to go down the Lib Dem route of massive hikes in the price of flights. I really need a week sitting in the sun somewhere doing nothing but drinking cheap Spanish lager, having someone else cook all my food and not going anywhere near a British newspaper.

    Cameron for PM!

  30. Another bucketload of common sense from Boris.

    What interests me – and this is a very serious question – is not how the Conservatives would stop the rot but how they would REVERSE it so that we can at least bring some sense of normality to GB and repair the damage done over the last decade.

    I fear the solution does not lie in Cameron going all eco on us.

  31. Simple answer to your question Paul…

    The first bill that they introduce when they win the next election should be one proposing to repeal every single piece of unwanted legislation that Labour have introduced.

    During the next few years they should be consulting with the public, with business, with local government and with quasi-government to research exactly what this bill should say.

    It’s not rocket science. If they start work now then they will be able to give some clear and jargon-free manifesto commitments that do not insult our intelligence or our common sense and that people want to hear.

    It’s early days Paul. Local elections should not just be fought on national and international issues. Cameron highlighting environmental issues in the way he has is interesting people in Conservative politics and giving a lead for local conservative candidates to highlight the environmental issues that affect their wards and make pledges to their residents. The word ‘environment’ encompasses more than global warming. Crime, policing, local services, your local high street; they are all part of the ‘environment’ you live in.

    By all means if he comes up with a rubbish general election manifesto when the time comes then we, the public, will let him know at the polls. You should be looking at local issues at the moment and voting for whoever you think deserves your vote locally.

  32. jaq, thanks for the kind words. I’ll check out those other blogs and see what’s up there, although I think the Hitchens might be too many words for poor little me.

  33. The first bill that they introduce when they win the next election should be one proposing to repeal every single piece of unwanted legislation that Labour have introduced. (Steven L)

    I suggested something very like this on another thread. Except I used the word ‘totalitarian’ instead of ‘unwanted’.

    And I’m hoping that Labour gets destroyed in the local elections.

    the very positive effect of discipline, the cane has on children ( Jaq )

    How well I remember it – so many times at school, never once at home.

    Some memorable beatings still linger in memory.

    Like the freezing day when our games teacher stopped a game of rugby, and administered a beating to one of the inept and hapless players. I gazed on in horror and dismay, and I have hated the game of rugby with unremitting intensity ever since that day.

    Or the day that our chemistry master sprung a surprise test on the class, with failure almost certainly entailing six of the best several days hence. Nearly half the class spent an entire weekend like the morituri of Roman games, grimly aware of our looming fate. Did the beating teach me any chemistry? Well, of course not. It simply engendered in me an enduring loathing of chemistry.

  34. Idlex, I used the word ‘unwanted’ because we are supposed to be a democracy.

    I was part of the generation that never got corporal punishment. I was lucky in that I lived in rural Northumberland and everyone had access to a good grammar school, discipline was a not a great problem, the one or two really bad eggs were just expelled. Those who got roudy in a lessons but were not really a bad egg as such were sent out of the room to the head of year. Whoever was the cheeky one in each class (me in Physics) was moved to the side bench for the rest of the year.

    On the subject of education I watched (in horror) GSCE bitesize revision the other night. I was mortified. When I was 11 years old we learned about writing argument essays and about how you have to discuss both sides of the arguement.

    It seems you do not have to these days, you just have to argue in favour of government policy. For instance there was one section on energy and sustainable resources as opposed to oil/gas etc. They declined to mention nuclear power whatsoever!

    OK nuclear power is in no way perfect but how much do we actually understand about releasing the energy that binds the material universe together yet?

    Not much which is why we have to use unstable and dangerous elements; to make it possible as opposed to safe and sustainable.

  35. Nuclear Power Questions; can anyone provide me with the answers?

    1) Why do they call the standard method of generating nuclear energy fisson (i.e splitting the atom into smaller pieces) when plutonium is a byproduct. plutonium is a heavier element than uranium so surely this is fusion (i.e making a bigger element out of smaller elements)?

    2) I used to have a kids book on space that said supernovas occur when an out of control star begins fusion of iron. The result is an explosion and the creation of a neutron star which was described as ‘spinning’ and so heavy (dense in other words) that a thimble-full would weigh much more than a man could lift. Is it possible that a neutron star could actually be one giant atom, the ‘spinning’ being an illusion created by the billions of electrons whizzing around it? How do they know that the fusion of iron causes it?

    3) We have managed to create fusion of hydrogen1 and hydrogen3 to create helium and the H-bomb. In the future would it be possible to control the fusion of small elements such as helium to generate electricity?

    Anyone any ideas?

  36. One must not forget, of course, the beautiful beatings one has received.

    One day, shortly before I was due to leave school, it occurred to me that I had actually learned one or two things while at that school. And so I decided to go and thank my teachers for their efforts.

    But when I marched up to Steve, and thanked him for all the algrebra he’d taught me (algebra I still use to this day), the grizzled old critter simply burst into tears.

    And he confesed that he knew nothing about algebra, but had been ordered to teach it anyway, and had done his best (which was superb).

    And then, in gratitude for our praise, he took out the only implement of justice that he had – a chair leg -, and bent us over his knee, and applied it fairly softly to our surprised backsides.

    And afterwards I thought that he had simply used the only means of communication at his disposal to register his feelings, and even in tearful gratitude he knew no other way than to administer yet another beating. And so I forgave him.

    Such is life.

  37. Yes. Easy. Let’s look at this line, ferinstance:

    These criminals comprise less than a quarter of 1% of all foreign born people in Britain, as of the 2001 Census.

    This means that foreign-born people are far less likely to be in British prisons than are British-born people. As a percentage, drastically fewer foreigners in Britain than Brits are criminal.

    Remain calm.

  38. It’s really just xenophobic wanking and headline-grabbing. They even admit in the third paragraph that they have no real clue what the numbers are in the first place.

  39. There is a difference between ‘foreign born’ and ‘foreign national’ though. Most of the ‘foreign born’ people I know are cricket loving, law abiding British citizens from other parts of the commonwealth.

  40. According to your link Raincoaster 12.5% of the prison population are ‘foreign prisoners’ as of 30/06/2005. Do they mean foreign nationals or foreign born?

  41. Want to read something truly shocking? Check this article. And this is in Toronto, for god’s sake. I thought Orwell didn’t cross the ocean?

    “This is very strange. I don’t understand what happened,” Alvaro Serdas said through an interpreter, of the incident involving his wife Denia Araya and daughters Lisbeth and Hacel. “I think maybe Immigration released them because they’re scared they did something wrong in going to the school,” said Serdas, who was shocked that officials would essentially threaten to hold children ransom to lure their parents out of hiding.

    Now, when they say it “contravenes federal protocol” they are using typical Canadian understatement. Because what Ottawa really means is “Holy shit, we’ve got f’n Rambo working in our TO office! Somebody stop this eedjut before we’re all serving time!”

    Because kidnapping minors, whether or not you work for the government, is a criminal offence punishable by anything up to and including life in prison.

  42. raincoaster – I think Hitchens might be too many words for poor little everybody, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be David Dimbleby, telling him to shush, but having thought about it I’ve decided I’d rather just listen. He does have some fantastically well constructed arguments, whether you subscribe to his ideas or not. Check out the talk page on his wikipedia entry if you want to see a glimpse of him in action. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Peter_Hitchens ) the best encyclopedia entry I’ve ever seen: you want to know what this bloke does? well there’s this and this and here he is in action: “What fun that, as a result, this entry now has the same status as, say, the article about the massacre of the Armenians” brilliant. I’m not sure if it was just the day I looked at his blog a lot but Nick Robinsons blog seems to be very hot with uptodate news. Well, political editor of the BBC, I would expect nothing less. He’s cute too!

    Was saddened to read about them kidnapping minors (above). Caught some of a very interesting prog last night on BBC2 (you might be able to see it on the web) about russian architecture: ‘Joe Building:The Stalin Heritage’ presented by Jonathan Meades. Apparently someone said about Stalin: ‘law upon law – he forges them as if they are horseshoes’ and it reminded me of Tony Blair. It seems that this trend is not confined to our shores but making laws when you already have them and ignoring them all under the excuse of protecting the people is in fact just an excuse for dictatorship/imperialism/bullying – call it what you will, it amounts to the same thing. For me, Cameron waffling on about global warming when the UK’s contribution is like farting in a huricane (http://blogs.bbc.co.uk/nickrobinson/2006/04/hairdos_and_ele.html ) just doesn’t turn me on. Call that an opposition? I don’t. What chance have people anywhere when elected politicians are just poseurs voicing soundbites and there’s nothing to choose between them? (excepting our host of course)
    I’m starting to wonder if democracy is a myth.

  43. Starting to wonder if democracy is a myth?

    2 words! POLITICAL APATHY

    (personally I think we should vote out the government every election until they learn to stop treating us like idiots)

  44. Fatso:
    I never dreamed , in a decade of Sundays , that I would ever be able to say this: you gave me the lifetime’s opportunity, which I hereby take , with due thanks.
    YOu malign Bet Lynch’s hairdo! ( May it never infest our screens again).

  45. Excellent article which shows just how far we have gone towards a totally controlled society, biased towards the state and the small band of minority elite who want to force their views on the majority.

    I feel sorry for the children of ‘tomorrow’ who will no doubt live in a less free society, monitored at every move, tracked through various databases and ‘subtly’ manipulated. Whatever next? Will we end up implanting RFID like devices in our children to ensure total control?

  46. Boris, as usual, you are right. How about a manifesto commitment to repeal all this stuff? In fact what about an “Abolition of Crap Legislation Act” which simply restores the statute book to its condition in 1997? (Be honest, people, which law since then would we miss?)

    Personally, I think all laws should expire 25 years after they are enacted. One generation does not have the right to bind the next. Besides, the politicians would be kept so busy re-enacting the important stuff, they wouldn’t have time to make up crap new laws to make a vote-winning headline.

  47. Steven L writes: The first bill that they introduce when they win the next election should be one proposing to repeal every single piece of unwanted legislation that Labour have introduced.

    OK guys, a little brainteaser for you. Casting aside all prejudice, being as fair and open-minded as possible, can anyone name a law introduced during NewLab’s tenure which (either/or)

    – Has been highly desirable / necessary

    – Has not irritated or inconvenienced a substantial number of normally law-abiding citizens

    – Has not been partially or wholly negated by the law of unintended consequences

    – Has brought benefits greater than the cost of its enforcement.

  48. Oh yes, and did anyone see a piece in the Sunday Times today (and possibly other papers) about the deportees to whom Boris refers?

    Not an administrative cock-up at all. According to the report, Tone’s crones encouraged the Home Office to let them melt away rather than deport them, on the grounds that too many would have claimed asylum, thereby spoiling their target of reducing asylum claims by 50%.

    Could there be a more sinister effect of this crazy “target culture”?

  49. PaulD, the Smoking in Public Places Bill (I don’t know what it’s actually called) was

    neither desirable nor necessary.

    will irritate (understatement) and inconvenience 25% of the population.

    will have any number of unintended consequences – e.g. the closure of pubs. (But then, maybe this is intentional.)

    will have costs that far exceed its benefits (if any).

  50. Idlex – as a slave to the weed, I concur.

    What I’m after is an example of recent law, any law, which has NOT had one or more of these effects. Makes you think, eh?

    Perhaps this is the wrong forum to be asking the question! Neverthelesss, I challenge you fair and open-minded people to find one.

  51. Very OT, but worth noting: John Kenneth Galbraith has died. I cannot believe the man never won the Nobel, but I suppose that’s what happens when you dedicate your life to politics rather than research.

    If you’re not familiar with the work of this great Canadian-born American, you can get a sample here and a snippet from that:

    Our rulers deliver favors to their clients. These range from Native American casino operators, to Appalachian coal companies, to Saipan sweatshop operators, to the would-be oil field operators of Iraq. They include the misanthropes who led the campaign to abolish the estate tax; Charles Schwab, who suggested the dividend tax cut of 2003; the “Benedict Arnold” companies who move their taxable income offshore; and the financial institutions behind last year’s bankruptcy bill. Everywhere you look, public decisions yield gains to specific private entities.

    For in a predatory regime, nothing is done for public reasons. Indeed, the men in charge do not recognize that “public purposes” exist. They have friends, and enemies, and as for the rest–we’re the prey. Hurricane Katrina illustrated this perfectly, as Halliburton scooped up contracts and Bush hamstrung Kathleen Blanco, the Democratic governor of Louisiana. The population of New Orleans was, at best, an afterthought; once dispersed, it was quickly forgotten.

  52. I grieved today for John Kenneth Galbraith, raincoaster. I’ve got a whole bunch of his books.

    And PaulD you are no more a “slave to the weed” than I am. My 30-year, 60-a-day father gave it the awful habit inside two weeks, purely for economic reasons. I don’t doubt I’ll do the same, if and when I want to.

    As for your more general point: is there any legislation by this past government worth keeping? Well, scraping the barrel, there may be one or two things.

    But I can’t think of any yet.

  53. To aver that the law ; any law, is unfair because it might preclude 25% of the population’s rights, is tantamount to saying that 25% of the population has more right to govern the country than the majority ; in other words, the other 75%.
    We live (exist(?) , for better or worse, in a so-called democtratic society, and if 75 % of that population is more or less happy with the status quo; so be it.

    There is a perfectly honourable and legal way to change things: SACK NANNY”!

    I’ve said it before and it bears repeating: If you don’t like the menu, change the restaurant ,or at least the proprietors; starting on the 4th May.

    I see that a think tank,( brain bank or whatever), has at last come to the conclusion that compulsory voting is to be considered. Any ideas ?

  54. re: home education, McCarnie wrote: “if the parent is proficient in the subjects required by law in the National Curriculum, and is able to exhibit to the necessary authority( ies) , at the time of the necessary examinations that this is the case , it would , I am sure have a positive effect on a select amount of , but not all, children. There is always the experience of group living ,working and and playing; social skills all ; which are so important in a young person’s education.”

    To regard the National Curriculum as the sole benchmark of a good education seems very peculiar to many home educators. Karl Popper, the incomparable proponent of the Open Society, was of the firm opinion that the only essential thing that a child must learn is to be able to read and write. Given the enormity of human knowledge out there today, does it really make sense to try to force the same body of knowledge into all our children? Such an aim neither conforms to the needs of the country, nor does it necessarily meet the requirements of educational law where it states that children must be educated according to their age, ability and aptitude.

    As home educators, we have the opportunity to tailor learning opportunities to suit the abilities of our children in a way that a teacher with a classroom of 30 kids, constrained by the diktats of NC, cannot possibly hope to do. As a result, we often feel that it is the parents of schooled children who should actually be prosecuted for their failure to meet their responsibilies to educate their child according to the requirements of the law, though this is clearly a bit of a mind-shift for all those who are heavily invested in the school meme.

    If the state were to insist that home educators were to follow the NC and take state exams, you can bet that we will start to put the argument for absence of parental responsibility in education, for such would indeed be the case.

    And please, (trying not to sound exhausted), do not come up with the oldest canard around, ie: that home educated children lack for opportunities to socialise.

    (From an HE parent whose family is alone for the first time in over three weeks…having spent a good proportion of that with approx 30 other HE families…and yes, just in case anyone is STILL worried…we are off again tomorrow with another 30 odd families on an orienteering course. Could that be good enough, yet?)

  55. I think the concern about the isolation of home-schooled children is not about any dearth of social activities “after hours” but rather with the fact that they have far less opportunity to learn how to work in a sometimes crowded and socially diverse environment. This is a critical skill set, as very few of us get jobs where we see fewer than ten people per day.

    All children, even those in regular schools, see their friends on holidays and after school. I don’t think anyone is accusing you of rabid isolationism.

  56. Reading these comments for the first time I was heartened to notice that Isles of Scilly recorded 0% truancy. My understanding is that many children are home educated (see http://www.littlearthur.org.uk )as there is no secondary education establishment on all but the largest island.

  57. It’s taken me close to a week (since this item was posted) to calm down enough to actually contribute something other than a tirade of hysterical obscenity, so strong are my feelings on this matter.

    I just spotted this on the Sky News website an I think the situation explained in the subsequent link epitomises what Labour are doing to law and order in this country.

    Granny Clashes With Teens

    The treatment of this lady in upholding her personal rights makes me very angry. Whilst I’m sure few people support outright vigilantism, I don’t believe it unreasonable to deal with the sort of situation described, on a personal basis providing reasonable force is used.

  58. Carlo:

    Karl Popper would have been mightily disappointed with the reported 15 / 17% of illiterates, and near illiterates, leaving the British educational maze today.

    Popper spent his life looking for the truth ; he never gave up looking, and was big enough never to have intimated that he had found it.

  59. To aver that the law ; any law, is unfair because it might preclude 25% of the population’s rights, is tantamount to saying that 25% of the population has more right to govern the country than the majority (Macarnie)

    I did not make this argument. I never argue from ‘rights’ anyway, because I don’t believe they exist. If I ever use the term ‘rights’, it is in denying the someone has a ‘right’ to something. Or, at least, I hope I do.

    My point was simply a political one. If you go and tread on 25% of the population, you make yourself a lot of enemies. I think you also make enemies if you put one thing in your manifesto, but enact something completely different.

  60. Karl Popper, the incomparable proponent of the Open Society, was of the firm opinion that the only essential thing that a child must learn is to be able to read and write. Given the enormity of human knowledge out there today, does it really make sense to try to force the same body of knowledge into all our children? (Carlotta)

    Good point. I was partly home schooled, mainly because our family travelled a lot, and to places where there weren’t any schools. But my mother was a qualified teacher, and she taught me to read and write – and to add and subtract and multiply and divide. I was wonderfully interested in everything until I got inducted into a formal school system, where every subject was completely disconnected from every other, and interest and enthusiasm were frowned upon. Only after I emerged from formal schooling did I gradually recover my form enthusiasm for knowledge.

    they have far less opportunity to learn how to work in a sometimes crowded and socially diverse environment. (raincoaster)

    Well, this is the real and unstated purpose of education: not to actually teach children anything, but to prepare them for a life of compulsory drudgery.

    It would be simpler if we just manacled children to the oars of rowing boats, and made them row in circles all day. A few weeks of that, and I’m pretty sure they’d know how to “work in a sometimes crowded and socially diverse environment”.

  61. Tom writes:

    ‘In fact what about an “Abolition of Crap Legislation Act” which simply restores the statute book to its condition in 1997’

    No no no, it should be:

    The Protection of Mental Health (Abolition of Ridiculous Legislation) (Restoration of Sanity) Act 2009

  62. The only sensible laws being apssed these days that affect the public at large are ones that we have little or no say over introducing i.e. European laws

    Because the EU debate most of our laws these days (as we have a common market with free movement of people, money, goods and services) Parliament just seems to debate trifle.

    There are a couple of welcome laws coming in. The new Fraud bill should help combat ID theft and high-tec fraud. The new Consumer Credit Act means that you only have to prove a credit agreement is unfair (as opposed to extortionate) to get a judge to change it for you.

    It’s all the socialist and class-war legislation that has to stop i.e fox hunting, imposing curfews on our kids, local councils giving ASBO’s for all sorts of weird and wonderful reasons.

    No, in 9 years of power they have done 3 good things that are true to Labour values:

    1) The right to join a trade union
    2) The minimum wage
    3) The 10% tax bracket (but this should go further in increasing tax allowances in place of tax credits)

    Everything else they have done is more questionable.

  63. idlex, please don’t misunderstand me. I’m well aware of the de-individuation which is the goal of much formal education. I’m not a supporter of it. But I’m also not resigned to your conclusion that all collaborative work is by definition mindless Orwellian drudgery.

    I was home-schooled till the age of five, taking me up to the level of reading newspapers and watching University of the Air, whereupon I went to a regular school; the resulting culture clash took me essentially twenty years to recover from. I certainly learned a great deal more from my mother than I learned from the first four years of school, if you only count intellectual benchmarks, but school teaches much more than that including how to deal with other people no matter how dumb they are. This is useful. It took me several years in the work world to learn those skills.

    My mother, seeing my difficulty, decided not to homeschool my sister. You can look at this as a controlled experiment with a very small sample size if you like. Let’s go to the final results: both my sister and I have jobs we love. My sister is currently employed and I’m not, which is not an unusual situation. My sister’s net worth and income are more than one hundred times mine. I’m hardly objective, but I do believe an external researcher would conclude from interviews that, of the two of us, she’s happier.

    So, it comes down to what kind of person you want to produce. My mother realized early on that homeschooling of the quality she delivered resulted in undersocialized, highly intellectual people. Government schooling resulted in well-rounded, good citizens who had far less conflict and stress in their lives.

    It also must be said that while there are no prerequisites for parenthood, teaching is both a skill and an art; those with talented teachers as parents are blessed, but my experience of home schooling parents does not lead one to uniform optimism on this score.

  64. Raincoster said: ‘the resulting culture clash took me essentially twenty years to recover from’

    Are you sure that you have recovered?

  65. I’ve just checked the odds at the UK’s 3 biggest bookmakers for most seats at the next election. They are:

    Labour 8/11, 10/11, 4/6
    Conservatives 1/1, 4/5, 11/10

    Better get your cash on now before that chump Brown gets in and the tories go odds on favourite accross the board!

    Best value has to be Miliband to be next Labour leader at 13/2 though! (You can still get 66/1 on Prescott)

  66. To Steven L. Fission works because in terms of nuclear binding energy, the most stable nucleus is Iron-56. You can get energy out by splitting bigger nuclei or fusing smaller – the degree depends on how steep the curve is there and the shape of the nucleus – some large nuclei are more rugby ball shaped and so easier to split.
    Uranium is naturally ~99% U-238, .7% U235 (depending on where you get it from). U235 is fissile, 238 isn’t. Thus we enrich the fuel by a laborious separation (just like the Iranians) to get to ~3% U235. This can (slowly) spontaneously split to produce 2 smaller nuclei and 2 or 3 neutrons. When we slow down (moderate) these, they can cause other U235 to split, and if the ratio of stimulated fusion to neutrons is >1, we get chain reaction. However, if one of these neutrons reacts with U238 we get U239, which beta decays to Pu239. Depending on the design, you can produce more or less Pu depending on your nuclear ambition – Pu production is just a side reaction of U235 fission.

  67. Now try this one:

    If there was a big tunnel through the middle of the Earth and you jumped into it would you:

    a) Stop in the middle at the centre of the Earths gravity?

    or

    b) Would your momentum propel you past this point so you pretty much stopped at the other end?

  68. The momentum you have built up would propel you past the centre. But you would not emerge in Oz because friction on the journey will reduce the kinetic energy in your body.

    In reality the heat of the earth’s core would roast you long before hitting midpoint. Did you have any politician in mind for throwing down said hole?

  69. My vote goes to Tessa Jowell over that sickening roulette photoshoot. Lets have a good old vote!

  70. Coming to think about it how fitting an end would that be for someone trying to persuade the poor to chuck all their money down the hole in the roulette tabel?

  71. American studies confirm that for every dollar casinos bring in to a community, they cost an additional dollar-sixty in social services. So, frankly, they’re great for government.

    If you’re going to be really cynical about things. But who would be cynical about gambling, eh?

    Gore Vidal once wrote about a government official who had “left the post via defenestration, a method of resignation that should be much more common than it is.”

  72. Boris, Melissa, Bloggers,

    I’ve just finished my diss, so I’ll be spending a lot more time in the pub than staring at this damn monitor from now on.

    I will be back at some point (i.e. if Thursdays Telegraph has some good comment in it) but not as much.

    Raincoaster, I will get in touch about blogging by the end of the month.

    Keep up the good work and the blogging everyone! This has to be about the best website around! If every MP had one like this the country would be in a lot better state, that is something I am sure of.

  73. McCarnie wrote: “Karl Popper would have been mightily disappointed with the reported 15 / 17% of illiterates, and near illiterates, leaving the British educational maze today. ”

    Not sure how KP would have seen this issue, but such a statistic sure makes an insistence upon the use of the NC seem rather strange.

    “Popper spent his life looking for the truth ; he never gave up looking, and was big enough never to have intimated that he had found it.”

    Quite so. Popper was a fallibilist, but this did not mean that he believed his pronouncements to be meaningless. Instead he thought it best that one should value one’s apparently best ideas (for they may be right, for example), and act upon them until such time as they are refuted.

  74. OK, one more Prescott jibe while its printing.

    From the BBC today:

    Conservative leader David Cameron said it was a “personal” matter but “he looks like a damn fool”.

    Go Dave!

  75. Killers and rapists flooded on to our streets because ministers lost control of the asylum system years ago.

    Immigration officials let them out without considering them for deportation in case they applied for asylum.

    This was no accident. This policy was under way two years ago as part of Labour’s attempt to lower the refugee figures in Britain.

    It will only take a shocking case of reoffending to break the fragile thread from which Home Secretary Charles Clarke now hangs.

    All voters want from a government is protection and competence. Labour are failing on BOTH counts.

  76. Tony Blair is being urged to introduce compulsory voting in elections.

    As Labour prepares for a record low turnout at Thursday’s local elections cabinet ministers Goeff Hoon and Peter Hain will today back a demand from a think tank demanding people are forced to vote.

    The plan could mean fines of £40 for non-voters. But Tory MP Oliver Heald said: “Courts have better things to do”

    Vote or be fined? You must be joking, Blair. THIS IS NOT A NANNY STATE.

  77. If only the electorate was as vociferous as, in particular, the contributors to this blog , even the spin deperados of the Left , like Hoon and Hain, would not have to come up with these draconian ideas.

    Use your vote and use it well: it was hard come by in the first place, and is being wasted by something like half the so called electorate.

    If you don’t take part , you are not one of the electorate.

    If you don’t like the goods in the window ; shop elsewhere.

  78. On that C4 Dispatches programme the other day, the undercover lady-copper revealed that poor attitudes to women still seriously undermine police approaches to many rape cases. Now people are being raped left, right and centre (painful) by foreigners who shouldn’t even be here (not that it’s their actual Otherness that’s the main problem, of course – don’t want to get into the shit on this). The last straw: Prescott’s unprofessionally randy old-school Carry On-style cavorting with all and sundry. A decade of New Labour “values” has genuinely penetrated (sorry, couldn’t resist) British culture. Edna has spoken.

  79. If I’m not very much mistaken all the purile fuss over pants-down-Prezza and beyond belief incompetence of blunder-warden-Clarko has suitably camouflaged the desperate bodging of NHS-destroying-Hewitty!

  80. Compulsory voting next, eh?

    I bet there’ll only be one candidate you can vote for as well.

  81. Lady Catherina de Radio Luxembourg: I raised this earlier and am astonished that the press have not made more of it.

    Hundreds of harcore criminals who should have been removed are walking the streets because rounding them up might spoil Labour’s asylum targets. It beggars belief.

    To me it says more about their devious, corrupt, self-serving style of government than any incident before it. I rejoice that it has backfired on them so badly. The come-uppance was long overdue.

    The whole rotten lot must go, go quickly, and take their infernal targets with them.

  82. Mac, I am entirely with you. It’s unfortunate that so many people don’t value the vote that so many millions throughout history have fought and died for. But just as we cannot make intelligence mandatory, so we cannot legislate an involved and informed citizenry into being.

    Labour wants to make the vote mandatory because then the results will be decided by a herd of passive, uninvolved and unaware sheep who just do what they’re told. Always an incumbent’s best ally.

  83. Idlex:
    Are you implying that the average person entitled to vote,( and given time , Labour will bring in the vote at 16 next), is less intelligent than our down-under cousins in Oz?

    They have had compulsory voting since Adam was a lad ,( not that I am for it , mind you), and I don’t see a dearth of parties or candidates there. I sometimes get the feeling that some people(!) have their tongues firmly in cheek when they comment here.

  84. Compulsory voting? A dead cert if Labour stay in. It suits them on all fronts.

    1. More votes from the lethargic, who enjoy Labour’s handouts more than the non-lethargic.

    2. Say 10 million still don’t vote – that’s almost half a billion in fines! Lots of lovely lolly for bribing more state-dependent voters.

    Oh yes, and voting age lowered to 5 with every child getting an annual tenner and birthday card signed Love from Tone.

    It’s a winner! They ought to hire me.

  85. Compulsory voting already happens for the Euro elections, I know its compulsory in Greece, and there are two or three other countries too. I don’t know what the penalty is for non-voters.

  86. They have had compulsory voting since Adam was a lad ,( not that I am for it , mind you), and I don’t see a dearth of parties or candidates there. (Macarnie)

    I can’t honestly say that I’ve thought much about compulsory voting, Mac. My first thought that it was simply another example of Labour’s compulsion to control people: low turnouts? Make ’em vote!

    The unstated political philosophy of the Labour party seems to be that the individual is a subsidiary component of the state, and it is the state’s job to tell people how to live their lives, right down to when and where they can and can’t smoke cigarettes.

    In many ways, Blair is the embodiment of this mentality: “L’etat, c’est moi.” (Excuse my French.) He personally decided, presumably along with his cronies, elected and unelected, to go to war with Iraq. His view is that this is the job of a Prime Minister to make such decisions. It is all of a piece with this view that he should invent reasons for this war (i.e. false intelligence) to get his personal decision through Parliament. All of which shows a profound contempt for democracy. It is also all of a piece with this that he has not apologised for the mess he’s got us into in Iraq. After all, since his view is that the Prime Minister who makes these decisions, he was only doing his job. And he probably thinks that lying to Parliament and to the British people was also just part of the job. (George W Bush in America has much the same view of his ‘unitary’ presidency, but that’s another story.)

    So when Blair starts wanting compulsory voting, I can only suppose it is because he sees in it some way to further undermine a democracy of which he is entirely contemptuous, and further empower the State (and by extension himself) to do whatever he sees fit.

    And if he felt he could ensure getting the required votes by simply having one party to vote for on the ballot paper, I’m sure he would do that. Or else have a ballot paper with many candidates on it, but with a note next to the Labour candidate, saying “Tick here, or your vote will be invalidated.”

    At present, it seems that we have one man – Blair – running the country, with a parliament of 600 or so walking rubber stamps to do his bidding. I don’t see that making voting compulsory will change this situation. If anything, I would prefer to see the government of this country removed from the prime minister, cabinet, and parliament, and handed to the people these politicians are supposed to represent, perhaps by secure online voting. i.e. have the whole country vote on every bill put before parliament. We have the technology to do this, in ways that were entirely unavailable when parliament was first created (and which necessitated parliaments). Such a development would however, see the demise of a particular species of human: the politician.

  87. At present, it seems that we have one man – Blair – running the country, with a parliament of 600 or so walking rubber stamps to do his bidding

    Not all of those elected are going along with the charade of Nanny Government, even if, at first, it might appear so.

    Rubber stamps are quite easy to make, but are not always wielded. I certainly agree that there is a majority of about 66 which is apparently prepared to rush,( with the help of the Whips), lemming-like over the cliff, despite the odd revolution of the extreme Left, (They are revolting).

    In many ways, Blair is the embodiment of this mentality: “L’etat, c’est moi.” —His view is that this is the job of a Prime Minister to make such decisions.

    The worst part of these part quotes is that he has deluded himself into believing the whole shebang, as have countless others, and not all British either. .

    To paraphrase his response to the recent spate of cock-ups :

    Nine years of excellence in Government should not be negatively weighed against nine awkward days,
    .

    He has long shown such selective amnesiac tendencies, and seems also to have forgotten that he was voted into power on behalf of the People of the UK.

  88. The Lim Dems want to hit gas-guzzling motorists with a whopping £2,000 car tax to help the environment.

    They have tabled an amendment to a government bill that would see the top rate of car tax rise from £215 to £2,000. Luxury motors and big 4x4s would be hit.

    Lib Dem environment spokeman Chris Huhne said: “If people choose to buy the most polluting cars, they must recognise the environmental cost.”

    Err, not sure about that. If they want to hit us, we will hit them back at the local elections tomorrow.

  89. Not all of those elected are going along with the charade of Nanny Government. (Macarnie)

    True. But a majority are. And they include both Lib Dems and Tories.

    They have tabled an amendment to a government bill that would see the top rate of car tax rise from £215 to £2,000. (Lady Catherina of 4×4 on the M5)

    Dotty environmentalism. If petrol prices are allowed to rise (and the the crazy proposed Iran war will probably triple them), market forces will do the job. There’s no need for this sort of thing.

    But the herd mentality has set in. And David Cameron is leading the way, as he visits Norwegian glaciers. So don’t expect any help from Tories. Or Labour. If anything, they’ll all probably start outdoing each other raising road tax to £5,000 and then £10,000.

  90. If they really want to force people to drive green, they should do what California did and put in emission controls. It’s had an incredible impact on the air quality there and, since air is not exactly isolationist, around the world.

    And Cameron should get a trailer for his bike if he wants green cred. Having a car follow you with the papers is like riding a horse…back and forth inside a 747.

  91. Re Steven L, 1/5, 2245.
    If you dig a straight hole at any angle through the earth then (neglecting drag) which gets you back to the surface quickest then?
    i) treating the earth as ball of consistent composition
    ii) in reality, with a heavy metal core.
    Oh and the easiest way of treating the big vertical hole to send the aussies our failed politicians (rather than the big horizontal on that takes them to Brussels) is in terms of energy – if you don’t lose any to drag, you must end up as far away from the core when you stop (ie the same potential E) as you started. Time of flight is in 10s of hours if I remember Alevel physics well enough.
    Unfortunately you’d have to convince an aussie to hoick them out or they’d just bounce back of course. If you have any drag though, they never get to the surface again and you’ll just get a earth-central quorum. Luckily, given precedent, they’ll not work out how to get out as let’s face it, it’s the inverse of a monkey and typewriter situation when you face politicians with a problem – the more there are the easier it is to form enough committees to ignore the problem all together. By reference to Arrhenius we can model;
    k(result) = Ae^(-bN/kT) where N is number of politicians, A and b empirical constants, kT retains thermodynamic definition. perhaps.

  92. Unfortunately you’d have to convince an aussie to hoick them out

    In fact, Australia isn’t exactly on the other side of the world from Britain, so Australians wouldn’t be much help.

    However, according to this, the 24 square mile rocky and uninhabited Antipodes Islands, southeast of New Zealand, are diametrically opposite to Greenwich.

    However, according to this, the Antipodes Islands are at Latitude 49.5 S, Longitude 179 E, which seems to me to be diametrically opposite some point in the English Channel.

    In fact, there doesn’t seem to be a single island on the other side of the world which is diametrically opposite to any part of Britain. Which is rather worrying.

  93. Boris, for goodness’ sake, are you raising money for charity for your football playing tonight? Tell us where to send the cash.
    Enough of this political nonsense.

  94. There’s a big photo of Boris on the front page of tomorrow’s Telegraph.

    Doesn’t seem to be online yet.

  95. Raincoaster : You paint a grisly picture : The Fat Pie Adonis using his head to ball . Ugh!

    Kieron :
    That is precisely what The Fat Controller said when he was in flagrante with whatsherface.

  96. ‘Conservative leader David Cameron said it was a “personal” matter but “he looks like a damn fool”.’ Now was that pants-down Prezza he was referring to – or bonking Boris?
    And yes, Boris’s great tackle – at least that’s what someone at the Times Higher is alleged to have said…
    Let’s face up to it, you can slag off Prezza for letting his libido do the walking – but let’s not forget others are prone to the same folly.

  97. Not entirely relevant to this thread but your tackle last night made my life. I haven’t laughed so hard in years, Thanks Boris!!

  98. I think Prezza’s problem is a bit more of a problem for the citizens of the UK in that he was availing himself of one or more government-employee hose monkeys on the taxpayer’s dime. And also that ridiculous picture of “the happy family” that came out on the weekend.

    And he kept the office door open…a man like that deserves to be outed. The poor ones who had to answer phones and type while THAT was going on in the background…ew.

  99. Clarification.
    I would suggest that “Sea and Cake”‘s reference to ‘laughing at Boris’s tackle’ was in reference to Mr Johnson’s appearance in a football match, not a sleazy colloquialism.
    Keep it up chaps, we have almost hijacked this thread.

  100. Oh lord, I’m inadvertently giving the News of the World about all they need for a Bozza cover story.

    I’ll be more careful when analysing Johnson’s tackle in future….

  101. Yes, the happy family man charade: as if politicians who’ve fooled around – and yet have young children at home – don’t play that trick… Now, who could I be thinking of?

  102. Matters could hardly get more personal than than they were in The DPM’s office, excepting for the added frisson of the possibility of being caught at it with the door ajar.

    Highly public then , I would have thought.

  103. Thanks, Paddy! It KILLS me that I didn’t know about this thing–I was at the B&Q behind Madejski Stadium while this was going on. Just think–I could’ve been watching that glorious moment of sport live instead of purchasing cable ties from a a woman in an orange smock. . .

    Hooray for Youtube!

  104. amazing tackle was watching it with several politically apathetic friends at the pub. following the tackle they pledged to vote Conservative today 🙂

  105. Hi Vicus

    You are a serious angel for suggesting this.

    The charity is Red Cross and am asking the organisers (alice@toastevents.com) how to get it to them

    M.

  106. Hi Melissa
    Just thought it would be good to have a specific Boris contribution from all of his fans (and me) after his efforts last night. If there is not a way of doing this, then I can give you the links for the Bobby Moore Fund and the Red Cross donations page for those who want to contribute after seeing his efforts last night.
    Is there any chance of his tackling Jack Straw in the Commons using the same technique?

  107. Vicus, there’s a problem with your second suggestion: One of the biggest problems with politicians is that there are so few with any balls to speak of. Boris can’t hit an invisible target.

    This is probably of no interest to anyone but moi, but my blog entry on Boris is the #2 most popular on the blog today, trailing the streaming eagle camera by three lengths but still well ahead of porn stars who find god and Shakespeare. FYI.

  108. Lady Catherina de Luxemburger – he probably has already…

    Have you seen he’s written a follow up to his last novel? It’s called 23 Virgins – it was going to be 72 Virgins Part II, but they’d all spent an evening at the Spectator party…

  109. I’ve been once – I’m afraid the pace is far too hot for me and I wouldn’t go back again. Let me tell you, they could teach the keeper of the Seraglio a thing or two..

  110. 72 to begin with… then down to 23 ? Good Lord!
    I know I sound like a slut, but I’m above all that honestly.

  111. As there appears to be no specific link on the Red Cross site for the Boris Johnson Football Hero appeal, then please follow this link to make a donation Red Cross
    The other charity supported was the Bobby Moore Cancer Appeal:
    Bobby Moore

    (All gate receipts from the match went to these two charities).

    As there is no way of mentioning Boris in your donation, then you will have to be altruistic about it and give some money anyway. Conservative voters will have to look up the definition of ‘altruistic’.

    UK tax payers (I suppose that marginalises the Tories as well) please remember to use the gift aid option.

    Please do it now.

  112. Lusisti satis, edisti satis atque bibisti: Tempus abire tibi est, as I always have to say to my Canadian friends, though the Spectator gang beat them hands down (especially if they ask nicely)at this sort of thing…

  113. Ed W

    That’s some good food for thought. I’m not to sure about the Brussels tunnel, now that they are planning one from Spain to Morocco one ‘chunnel’ is more than enough. I can’t help thinking that she would just kind of bounce down such a tunnel anyway rather than fall and would need one of those inflatable ‘human hamster’ balls (and get stuck in the middle anyway). Although this might be a good idea in a few respects for the Greenwich to the Antipodies Islands tunnel that Idlex proposed:

    a) It will be easy to pack some food for the journey.
    b) If they don’t manage to catch her at the other end and she does end up stuck in the middle we can just chuck in another politician (say Prescott) in another human hamster ball to try and get her moving again.
    c) We won’t have to worry about them being dashed off the sides of the tunnel.

    I still can’t get my head around imagining that anything other than them all ending up stuck in the middle, no matter how many of them we chuck down the hole. I guess it could always be fitted out with some kind of device to make sure they do all get pushed out the other end if needs be, magnets perhaps?

    So if a space shuttle can stop it’s passengers burning up on re-entry would it be possible to build this tunnel so that the ‘jumpers’ don’t get burned up on their way down? Or to that matter does anyone know what’s in the middle of the Moon?

    Some kind of world-wide project like that might really unite people and make people want to vote (for who gets chucked down the hole that is).

    Text ‘VOTEPRESCOTT’ to ……

  114. ATTENTION ALL!!!!

    As the more perceptive of you may have noticed, this government (i use the term loosely – pathetic dictatorial corrupt a***wipes is more appropriate) have BANNED all protest within a kilometre of Parliament. Boris himself almost fell foul of this on the recent C.H.A.N.T. march.

    This law was brought in to end the protest of just one man; Brian Haw.

    Brian has been protesting against the Iraq war since the very outset. His presence is a constant embarrassment to Bliar, so our murdering meddling PM had a law enacted just to get rid of him.

    Mr Haw appealed (and won) against this law. The government have just had this appeal overturned.

    Is it any wonder that people no longer take an interest in politics when the government goes out of its way to illegitamise any opposition or protest?

    I ask all readers of this post to contact their MPs at the soonest possible opportunity, protesting against the murder of democracy by this self-serving and corrupt bunch of thieving murderous war-mongering c***s who call themselves The Labour Party, our government.

    I have spent my life as a peacable citizen…but give me a rifle and i will shoot that bastard Blair. Not between the eyes (they are too close together – besides, his brains are clearly in his ar*e), but somewhere that will guarantee a slow and painful death.

    He steals freedoms, orders the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent men women and children, and smiles whilst he does it. And we let him get away with it.

    So, tell your representatives that we have a RIGHT to protest, and the seat of power should not be immune as a venue. Only a cowardly murderous liar need hide. As only a cowardly murderous liar IS hiding – in his anti-democratic protest-free zone.

    GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!

    BASTARDS!!!!!!!!!

    (rant over…anyone got a large towel i can borrow to clear up all the vitriol and spittle that appears to be drenching my keyboard?)

  115. Who cares about Brian Haw Haw; what did any of your elected MPs do to stop the war? Parliament is only an anti-democratic zone because MPs – Tory as well as Labour – were in agreement that they wanted to bash the Iraqis (it’s only those ghastly unreconstructed Lefties who really dissented from this and represented a true ‘opposition’ – they are the real democrats, not your snivelling little toadies from places like Folkestone and Henley…)
    You drone on about democracy. This government was re-elected just a year ago; that’s democracy, having to stomach what you don’t like but being determined to vote them out next time – which will happen if the people of our great country say ‘so be it’. We had to live through 11 years of Thatcher and 5 years – god help us – of John Major. But the buggers were kicked out right enough when the time came. The same thing will happen with Labour. You call yourself a democrat but crumple up in the face of an election defeat (ie democracy in action) like a used Kllenex, and talk of reaching for the rifle. That’s the craven response of impotent anti-democratic loonies who don’t understand the system and want to hurry along their own agenda. ‘Fine words butter me no parsnips’, as John Major brilliantly put it. And neither do moronic griping weasly ones either…

  116. I disagree. Parsnips had a bad time under the Major government, losing their disability rights and being forced to go out begging on the street. It created enormous social unrest and a 7% increase in the number of so-called ‘roasting’ incidents.

  117. Manxcat:

    The MPs that voted for the war did so as they were fed altered intelligence (lies, in other words) by Bliar.

    The tories WON the last general election in England, but Liebore remain in power due to ridiculous Scottish constituencies consisting of 30 or 40 drunken english-hating Scottish idiots.

    And a bullet in the B*ll*cks is almost certainly the only thing that would ever get through to Bliar…

    As to “who cares about Brian Haw Haw”: I’ll assume your pointless insult of his name was a typo. Or are you really the inbred idiot you appear after such a ridiculous statement?

  118. Psimon – you seem to think insults and crudity are an acceptable replacement for argument. But as I’ve told you before, the Tory Party leader went on record last year as saying he would have gone to war anyway, because the fact is he was as desperate to suck up to Bush as was Blair. And your man from Henley is of the same ilk. Your concern for those hundreds of thousands Blair “ordered” to be killed (that many? where’s the statistic from?) is touching. Do you think Howard and the Tories would have done anything different?

    I also didn’t realise that those who sit in Parliament Square and protest against the government were beyond criticism. Some might well see any action that serves to undermine our boys in the field in times of war as treacherous… And might I add that when you look at the foul-mouthed garbage you’ve spouted here against Blair I would have to ask what’s going on in your sick mind: just think about what you’ve written. Is it meant to be funny? It’s not, I can tell you. Maybe you’re a genuine psycho, and this stuff really is a fantasy that turns around in your mind. I hope not for your sake.

  119. Manxcat – I think I see the point you’re making. Here’s Boris only last year:

    “Yesterday the Italian government of Silvio Berlusconi – formerly a fervent supporter of the war – announced that it was pulling the 3,000 Italians out, in response to the killing of an Italian security operative at the hands of American troops. I think that is sad and regrettable. Something very remarkable is happening in Baghdad, and whatever the rights and wrongs of the war, those of us who were involved in it should stay until this nascent democracy is safe.
    As I poked through one of Saddam’s bunkers yesterday morning, I came across a reminder of how much has been achieved, and why it was right to do it. It was a fantastic bunker, built by the Germans, with three-ton steel doors supplied by the Swiss. There were map rooms and war rooms and huge untouched generators, machines built by Siemens of Germany and Bobinindus of Belgium, so colossal that they had defeated even the looters. There were emergency operating rooms, and places where corpses were allegedly stored.
    But as we poked around with our torches, the spookiest detail we discovered concerned the security system. Saddam cared so much about his bunker, and so little about the loss of human life, that he had installed a system to combat fire. As soon as there was the risk of losing the premises, they were automatically programmed to fill with halon gas, suppressing oxygen – and killing any human being left in his creepy passages. That is the kind of man he was, and the kind of regime he ran: where people could not only be tortured and killed, but where the safety of his employees counted for nothing.
    And why did they count for nothing? Because they could not vote to punish him for his madness. That is why we need to keep working to make this democracy thrive in Iraq, and that is why it is so wrong of the Italians to retire. As it happens, Mr Berlusconi was wrong in his whole handling of the rescue of Giuliana Sgrena. By paying a huge ransom to the kidnappers, he merely added incentive to the nutcases to kidnap others; he raised the risks for the hundreds of British, among others, who are struggling to help rebuild the country.
    Efforts to provide water, sewers and electricity are already being hampered by the need for every Western worker to be accompanied by his or her own private security detail, composed of hugely competent Ulstermen with shades and pistols on their thighs. The security problems are not only frightening; they are frighteningly expensive. We need Western troops to remain here until the Iraqis are capable of fighting the terrorists themselves. The day may not be far off, but in the meantime I did not meet a single person here who wanted us to leave – far from it – or who regretted the change we have brought about.
    Having started this operation, whatever its faults, we have a moral duty to help see it through. If that means sending more British troops to make up for the Italian deficiency, we may have to do it – and there would be many brave Brits in Iraq who would agree.”

    You have to say, that’s an eloquent defence of Britain’s involvement in Iraq – it seems it was a legitimate conquest in order to install democracy! This certainly doesn’t give me confidence that the Conservatives have any intention of ending our presence there. In fact, quite the opposite. It must be nice for Bliar to know he has at least one chap on his side, though… Or has Boris changed his mind yet again on this one?

  120. < you seem to think insults and crudity are an acceptable replacement for argument.
    How did i insult you? And where did crudity REPLACE argument?

    < But as I’ve told you before, the Tory Party leader went on record last year as saying he would have gone to war anyway, because the fact is he was as desperate to suck up to Bush as was Blair. And your man from Henley is of the same ilk.
    And this makes it ok, does it? Fool!

    < Your concern for those hundreds of thousands Blair “ordered” to be killed (that many? where’s the statistic from?) is touching. Do you think Howard and the Tories would have done anything different?
    Regardless, killing people so you can steal their resources is bad, m’kay?

    < I also didn’t realise that those who sit in Parliament Square and protest against the government were beyond criticism.
    You didn’t criticise, you chose a pointless insult. And the main point is that protest outside parliament would only be made illegal by a government that had much to hide, surely?

    < Some might well see any action that serves to undermine our boys in the field in times of war as treacherous…
    I fully support “our boys”, its the thieving gits that gave the orders for them to be involved in an illegal war in the first place i have a grudge against.

    < And might I add that when you look at the foul-mouthed garbage you’ve spouted here against Blair I would have to ask what’s going on in your sick mind: just think about what you’ve written. Is it meant to be funny?
    The language is merely accentuating the depth of feeling i have against this dictatorial totatilitarian freedom-taker you seem to admire so much.

    < It’s not, I can tell you. Maybe you’re a genuine psycho, and this stuff really is a fantasy that turns around in your mind. I hope not for your sake.
    Go look up “Martin Niemoller”

    /rolls eyes
    /dispairs of idiots

  121. For an idiot who thinks it’s ok to talk about shooting people in the crotch, I’d say nothing’s above ol’ Psimon. He also thinks that because I object to him talking about shooting someone in the crotch that I must be an admirer of that person (‘Fool!’ to quote Psimple Psimon).
    Regardless, stealing people’s resources is bad? Go tell that to every Western government that’s trampled over Johnny Foreigner’s ghastly non-democratic country. The point is, don’t think your hero from Henley is any better than your hate figure currently residing in Downing St. Don’t you see? The Howards and Johnsons are part of the same terrible political order, whatever you might think about those affable, kind-hearted Tories .
    Above all, why do you think it’s ok to send e.mails to this website that sound so violent and psychotic? Just because it’s Boris’s site does that make it all a joke? You talk about depth of feeling – but how does that sanction the kind of mad things you were saying about killing the prime minister? Does that make me a supporter of the PM? No. Does that make me someone horrified by the casual way you talk about such things? Yes. Just because it’s Blair doesn’t justify your ‘insulting, inflammatory’ language…

  122. Yes – I can think of someone who would benefit from spending a little more time alone – with his family, for example… Ah, you do remember John Major and ‘back to basics’, I presume? How I long for the return of those good old days.

  123. I do feel that labour are going over board with the legislations. I thought that the terrorism act, where they can lock you in your own house without a trial, was one of the worst things that could happen and would cause far more harm than the actual terrorism itself. It’s merely giving in to them, they cause the most damage not by the bombings or whatever themselves but by the fear and panic it causes thereby causing governments to harm their own citizens. However I also didn’t see the conservatives voting against it that effectively.

    It’s the same with this. You’re very happy to talk about how Labour are doing so badly at all this and how they’re only doing it to get votes but are any of the other parties any better? I sense a bit of hypocrisy going on here. The pot calling the kettle black.

    I commend and completely agree with your views. Clamping down on civil liberties really helps no one but those who you’re trying to stop.

  124. Manxcat said: ‘The Howards and Johnsons are part of the same terrible political order, whatever you might think about those affable, kind-hearted Tories.’

    I reckon he/she is one of those revolutionary communist types that sends disillusioned vegetarians out into the street to sell newspapers full of articles about hypocricy.

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