Saturday, 26 March 2011

Budget Number Games

According to the most recent Budget Report, Government spending is expected to total £710billion in the 2011-2012 financial year. Total tax receipts are expected to total £589billion, leaving us with a shortfall, or deficit, of £121billion. That's 121 with nine 0s on the end.

£121,000,000,000 which we need to borrow in order to pay our bills. That's £331million a day, £13.8million an hour, £230,213 a minute, or £3,836.88 every second.

Every time the clock ticks, the Government spends nearly £4,000 more than it can afford.

And there are people marching in support of this.

God help us.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

What to Do About Libya

I am getting really sick and tired of all the rhetoric about Libya.

The West's response to the burgeoning civil war has been roundly criticised here, here, here, and in every second comment on Twitter.

'We should do something,' say the critics. 'Innocent people are dying.'

Yes, they are. Gaddafi is a brutal, murderous tyrant who will tolerate no opposition to his total control of the country. And it is truly an outrage that he is committing such terrible atrocities against largely defenceless people.

 A murderous shit if ever there was one.

But what does that mean? That 'do something'?

There's been talk of a no-fly zone. Sounds nice, doesn't it? The UN just says, 'no planes are allowed to fly over Libya', and it happens.

Wrong. Gaddafi will continue to use his planes. And we will have to shoot them down. The Libyans will retaliate. Lives will be lost.

It will not end the war - Gaddafi's forces have superior ground-based weapons as well. Do we send in troops to counter that? That's 'doing something'. We'll be stopping the murderous tyrant and help effect regime change.

Yes, we will. But it will come at a cost. Don't think, even for a moment, that we won't suffer casualties - and don't think that all the nations of the earth will support us. It will be America, Britain, and perhaps a few other members of NATO that contribute.

So, to all the righteous who think that we should 'do something', I await your continued calls to 'do something' when we start bringing home 18-year-olds in coffins draped in Union flags, and you see their crying families. Wives and children bereft of husbands and fathers. Parents bearing witness to the broken bodies of their children.

This is what 'doing something' means.

Of course, it's easy to hide this harbinger - this visceral, primal image which we have seen too many times with the repatriation of soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan - behind the easy comfortable euphemisms of 'doing something' and 'no-fly zones', or even 'intervention'. But they all mean one thing: war. And the cold, hard reality of war is this: if we get involved, it will mean that people we know, people we love, our sons, our fathers, our nephews, our friends, will die.

Is that a price that we are prepared to pay?

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Thought Police

The long-running TV murder mystery series 'Midsomer Murders' has recently come under fire because it doesn't have any black people in it.

Apparently, not having members of an ethnic minority in your show now means that you are a baby-eating racist.

By the same logic, then, 'The Cosby Show' and 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' and virtually every R&B music video ever made, are despicably racist against white people.

Yes, I can imagine white people in 'The Cosby Show'. Let's crowbar them in there, even though there's no relevance to the storyline, even though there's no particular reason for it, even though it goes against the context of the show, just for the sake of keeping the Lefty Thought Police happy.

How about, no, fuck off?

Here's a thought: maybe it doesn't matter what colour your fucking skin is. Can you imagine how people would react if 'Midsomer Murders' was being decried as having too many people with brown hair in it? Or not enough people with green eyes? Or how about if we take it a little further?

What if a TV series was decried for having too many Jews in it?

Who'd be fucking racist then?


Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Cameron on an EU Referendum

Dear Prime Minister,

In Prime Minister's Questions today, you were asked by Mr Peter Bone, '...may we have a referendum on whether the United Kingdom should remain in the European Union?'

You answered: '...I am afraid that I must disappoint my Honourable Friend... I think that we are better off inside the EU but making changes to it, in the way that we are setting out.'

So, you are refusing us a referendum on the EU because you think that we should stay in it.

You think we should keep the First Past the Post voting system, but you're still giving a referendum on that. Why is the EU any different?

Give us the choice, and then by all means, campaign for an 'In' vote. I'll be happy to listen to your argument so that I can make an informed choice. But don't presume to second-guess what I, and my fellow voters, might say.

In other words, don't be such a fucking hypocrite.

Love and kisses,

James Dennis

Be careful. I might upgrade you.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Burning Poppies

It's been reported that a fanatic Islamist extremist who set fire to poppies during the silence on Remembrance Day last year has been fined £50.

Now, I personally do not criticise the sentence. I am of the opinion that freedom of speech is paramount, and that anyone should be allowed to express themselves in way they want. If that means that some jumped-up psycho wannabe suicide bomber feels the urgent desire to torch poppies on Remembrance Day, then we should accept that, even if it means rejecting the urge to choke the life out of him with a rusty piano wire.

But... and this is a big one...

It should go both ways. For example, if a Christian fundamentalist were to stand in the middle of a city with a loudspeaker, declaring that Allah is a bastard, and that all of his followers are child-molesting, woman-beating, democracy-hating zealots, do you think he'd get off with a paltry £50 fine?

No, I didn't think so.

And that hypocrisy - that double-standards which is now so ingrained into our society, our political culture and our justice system - is what enrages me.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Mandelson and Morals

There's an article in the Telegraph today in which the fount of all knowledge and wisdom, Lord Mandelson, states that the British economy will suffer if we don't do business with 'less savoury' regimes such as Libya. 'Employment levels and standards of living' will worsen.

Yes, undoubtedly they will, Lord Mandelson. But that's not really the fucking point, is it? The point is that perhaps we should start practising what we preach, and actually take a moral position on something, rather than just telling every fucker else on the planet to play nice and trade fairly, while at the same time allowing companies to operate in this country who are known to commit human rights abuses abroad?

As they say, principles cost dear - if you want to take a moral position on something, it will invariably involve personal sacrifice. But with you being a self-serving, vile, power-hungry, sycophantic hypocrite, I wouldn't possibly expect you to understand.

A fucking despicable prick.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Aid to India

Someone recently asked me what I thought of the fact that we currently spend £295million a year on aid to India, arguing that we were effectively helping to fund India's space programme, and that it should be the responsibility of the Indian Government to relieve poverty in India.

I take somewhat less of a utilitarian view.

My problem with the aid sent to India is that it is provided by the Government through tax money. I, and every other taxpayer in the country do not have a choice over how that money is spent - it is simply taken off us and given away by the Government. I do not agree with the concept of a charitable tax - if I want to give money to charity, then I should be allowed to choose which charity. Not the cretins in Whitehall who think they know better than me.

However, it should be noted that £295million a year amounts to about 10p a week per person. I think we've got bigger things to worry about. Like the £60 a week per person benefits bill, for instance.