Friday, 28 January 2011

Quote of the Day

'The centre of Christianity is Christ, not the Bible. Unlike some religions, we do not worship a book but the living presence of the Spirit. Of course, Scripture and exegesis are important, but the Bible is more a series of signposts set up to guide the believer to a destination than a book of intractable law with which to beat the non-believer around the head.'
- Cranmer

Thursday, 27 January 2011

'Never Will We Abandon the Euro'

So said French President Nicholas Sarkozy while addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos today.

He went on to say that 'the euro spells Europe. The euro is Europe and Europe has spelled 60 years of peace on our continent, therefore we will never let the euro go or be destroyed.'

This, to me, illustrates the fundamental difference in the way that the British public regard the EU, and how the EU and its proponents regard it. They see the single currency and the EU as one and the same, and that you cannot (or should not) have one without the other. They also see the EU as the principal guarantor of peace in Europe since the end of World War II.

Personally, I thought the principal guarantor of peace in Europe after World War II was NATO, that proud alliance that destroyed Nazism and took a stand against militant and conquering Communism. But according to Sarkozy, it was the EU.

To him, a United States of Europe is the ultimate goal - the surrender of national sovereignty to form a European hegemony stretching from the Ural Mountains to the Atlantic Coast, from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia.

Sound familiar?

The EU. Or not.

France was freed from conquest by Nazi Germany in 1944, by the efforts of the Allies, who became NATO. Over 60 years later, all the blood that was spilled on their account - including by their own soldiers - is being besmirched as their President commits himself to an Anschluss with Germany and every other nation in Europe, which is being foisted on the people of Europe without so much as a 'by-your-leave'.

Once again, I ask the question: do we, as a nation, want any part of this?

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

I'm Agreeing with Labour?!

I suppose it had to happen at some point. Amidst all the spin and hyperbole, the nonsense, the lies, and the brain-dead half-wittery, Murphy's Law dictates that sooner or later, Labour are going to come up with something reasonably sensible.

For quite a while now, Labour have been banging on about growth in the economy - that increasing tax revenues by growing the economy is the best way to reduce the deficit. And that message seems particularly pertinent today when the news has broken of a 0.5% contraction in GDP, raising the spectre of the 'double-dip' recession.

Now, of course, Labour are blaming the Coalition for this. Never mind the fact that the previous 'growth' in the economy can largely be attributed to the racking up of an additional £170billion of debt last year alone, and the printing of nearly £200billion to prop up our ailing economy. They might do worse to take note that an economy that requires such massive support from the State is not really growing, but simply inflating.

The Government have, rightly so, started to withdraw that support. No more new money has been printed, although with inflation spiking, we are now starting to feel the effects of the Bank of England's Quantitative Easing programme. Borrowing is being reduced in line with spending to help reduce the size of the deficit. All of this is necessary, to prevent the world credit markets from perceiving Britain as a poor credit risk and either loaning us money at significantly higher rates or refusing to lend us money altogether. For the impact that this can have, see Ireland.

However, one thing that has been lacking from the Government is a plan for growth. Labour are right in that regard - reducing the deficit and restoring order to the public finances is necessary, but getting the economy back on a sure footing is just as important. And with the recent increase in VAT, as a refusal to lower fuel duty, even though petrol prices are well over £1 a litre, they seem to be sending a mixed message.

Labour are wrong on the causes of the deficit, wrong on the need for spending cuts and wrong on the speed at which this needs to be done if we are to truly banish the prospect of a UK sovereign debt crisis. However, when it comes to getting the economy going again, they do have a point.

Wankers. But they've got a point. This time.

Monday, 17 January 2011

War on Mediocrity

The British obsession with mediocrity has always held a morbid fascination for me.

Our national heroes are not victors, excelling in their fields of endeavour, although it would be unfair to say that we are completely unappreciative of merit. Our national heroes are the stars of reality TV and the two-bit celebrities who have made their fortunes on the front pages of glossy magazines.

We are society that almost decries excellence - if someone celebrates their particular brilliance in a certain activity, they are labelled arrogant, but if someone achieves modest success, they are lauded as 'giving it a good go.' The reason for this? I think it's because we're afraid of failure. Even to the extent where, in children's competitions, medals are handed out to losers, and the old lie, 'it's the taking part that counts,' is drilled into us at an early age.

Really? It's the taking part that counts? Why do we keep score, then? Why do you get a gold medal for coming first?

Here's the truth: it's not the taking part, it's the winning that counts.

So we're now in a situation where the Government advocates a 'good enough' policy with regard to parenting, so that any sense of competition doesn't worry our pretty little heads. Because everyone knows how simply awful it feels to come last. And no one should come last. But if no one comes last, then no one comes first either. But that doesn't matter, because it's the taking part that counts. And being average is good enough.

Complete and utter bollocks.

In everything I do, from playing cornet and piano, to my work, to writing my book (which I'm finally making some progress on again after a 5-year hiatus), to tapping out this humble blog, to the parenting of my children, even making my cup of tea in the morning, I strive for excellence. I try to do it as well as I possibly can, and to improve on that. Because being worst is bad, but so is being average.

I don't exceed in my endeavours all of the time - I screw up just as much as the next guy. But I try my hardest. Because I'd rather strive for excellence, and fail, then just settle for being average, and always wonder if I could've been something more.

Some people, no doubt, feel intimidated in those rare instances when I accomplish something of significance. Certainly, I am not beyond feeling somewhat inadequate when I see someone else do better than me. Some people hate that, and it drives them to brink of depression. I cannot understand why. When someone can do something better than me, and it's important to me, I work my arse off to see if I can be better than them. Not for the sake of competition, but to prove to myself that I can do it. Many people seem to react differently - instead of striving to improve themselves, they give up, and hide behind the lie that mediocrity is somehow acceptable.

It is perhaps this depressing mentality, the principle that sufficiency suffices, that is to blame for many of the woes of our society. We are terrified of competition, because it involves risk and effort, and so we settle for being average, hiding behind the lie that everyone is special, and no one really needs to accomplish great things, because getting by is enough.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Another One Bites the Dust

There is, perhaps, some hope for justice after all.

Southwark Crown Court has been busy today, with sitting MP Eric Illsley pleading guilty to false accounting relating to his expenses, and Edward Woollard, the dipshit who threw a fire extinguisher off the roof of Millbank Tower during the student protests last year, was jailed for 2 years and 8 months.

It is likely that Illsley will also face a custodial sentence, as the former MP David Chaytor was delightfully sent down for 18 months for the same charges. A custodial sentence of more than 12 months would also trigger a by-election in his Barnsley Central constituency. Pity he's sitting on a majority of 11,093 - a Labour hold is the likely outcome, even if they are punished for supporting a scumbag.

Nice to see the bastards go down.

I'm personally looking forward to the trials of Elliot Morley and Jim Devine, the other two bastards who went to the Supreme Court to determine whether the law applied to them...

Slice n' dice 'em, me gal.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Bastard Parliament VIII: Hard Time

After losing a Supreme Court appeal contending that the law doesn't apply to MPs and finally pleading guilty to false accounting, David Chaytor, a former Labour MP, has been sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment by Mr Justice Saunders.

Justice. Sweet justice.



Thursday, 6 January 2011

For the Avoidance of Doubt

Guido has noticed Ed Miliband's accusation of the Tories misleading the electorate on the deficit, claiming that it was the worldwide recession which caused the deficit to widen due to a collapse of tax revenues. Guido also helpfully pointed out that the Labour Government was spending more than it received in tax revenues in every year since 2002, and that borrowing has steadily increased since then.

In other words, Ed Miliband is a fucking liar.

Let's just get this straight, shall we? Imagine the country is a person. Tax revenues are salary, public spending is household bills, public borrowing is money spent on credit cards, and the national debt is the total amount on credit cards.

Mr UK, in 1997, had it made. He had a good income, and moderate household bills. So he started to live the high life a bit. He started playing golf, bought a few widescreen TVs and went out to restaurants every night. He had a jolly good laugh.

Pretty soon, he realised that he had more actually going out of his bank account every month than he did going in. Well, you only live once, don't you? So he started putting the difference on credit cards. He could always transfer them and pay them off later, you see, and it wasn't costing him that much.

Than, in 2008, he lost his job, and had to start working at Tescos part time. What would a normal person do at this point? Well, probably cut down on stuff. Cancel that golf club subscription. Start eating at home instead of going out every night. Downgrade to a cheaper version of Sky TV. Start buying Smart Price beans. That kind of thing.

Not Mr UK. He decided he'd just carry on loading money on credit cards, and pretending as if nothing had happened. But oddly enough, given that he couldn't fund his lifestyle on his previous job, he found that funding it on his new one was totally impossible.

Finally, redemption. Mr UK's Dad stepped in, and told him to pull his fucking finger out of his arse. He explained that if Mr UK kept on spending money like it was going out of fashion, pretty soon, the credit card companies would stop lending to him. And then he'd be royally screwed, paying extortionate interest rates with no way of improving his situation. There's only one thing to do, says his Dad.

His Dad started going through the Direct Debits, and cancelling the ones Mr UK doesn't need. Bye bye, golf club. Bye bye, fancy restaurants. Bye bye, book club. Mr UK had a big cry, partly because he realised that life was going to be considerably tougher than it had been, and partly because he realised he'd been a complete jackass for getting himself into this situation in the first place. And although he desperately wanted his old life back again, he realised deep down that he'd been living a lie, and that if he'd carried on with it, he'd have wound up in serious trouble.

Life became a bit grim for Mr UK - he had to eat Smart Price beans, and learn to cook himself. But guess what? After he'd got his finances back on an even keel, he managed to get promoted. He became a manager at Tescos, and his salary went up. This time, he didn't blow the money - he used it to clear his credit card debts. Then he started saving, so that if he lost his job in the future, he wouldn't wind up getting himself into debt again.

Mr UK lived a long and happy life, never got into trouble with money again, and learned some valuable life skills. Like how to get by on beans on toast, and that he didn't really like golf after all.

Sound fucking familiar?

So, Mr Ed 'it-was-the-world-recession' Miliband, grow the fuck up. Yes, the recession had an impact, but let's not pretend that was the primary reason. The primary reason was that you, your one-eyed, brain-dead, mouth-breathing Jock master and all the other useless cunts that you colloquially refer to as the 'Shadow Cabinet', fucked our finances up. Deal with it. You twat.

PS. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I'm back.