Saturday, 8 May 2010

Saturday Morning Ramble: The UK Election Edition

So the British election is finally over—ending not with a bang, but a resounding stalemate.  The British voters have spoken, and what they’ve said, rather thoroughly, is “We don’t like any of you bastards very much.”

All praise to the British voter for that.  I didn’t much like any of the bastards myself.

Which in the end made this a delightful outcome all round. For in this election, they are all losers, for which we have much to thank the stolid British voter. One of those delicious contests delivering the unlikely result that everyone you despise loses--like watching a game between England and Australia and seeing them both lose.

Let’s start with the biggest losers: Nick Clegg and the pollsters. So much for their “Clegg Mania.” Clegg’s rainbow hordes pulled fewer seats than they did last time, despite all the pundits’ prognostications of big things for the cardigan-wearers. By puncturing the augurers of the mania, the British voters demonstrated once again (just as they did in 1992) that pollsters’ predictions are about as accurate as the predictions of soothsayers and the readers of tea leaves,and should be taken about as seriously. (Nonetheless, I don’t expect journalists any time soon to stop quoting pollsters’ pontifications as if they were holy writ, or politicians to take pollster’s pathetic predictions about taking power seriously.)

And there’s Gorgon—the cup of power has been torn by the voters from his grasp, as expected, but rather then being torn away completely he's now left  (like Tantalus) with the cup so maddeningly close to it that can still smell it and taste its contents, while his former friends wait (like Brutus) for the right moment to plunge their knives into his back.

And Dave.  The British voter has handed Dave the lesson that all his spin doctors wouldn’t: That despite all the pontificating to the contrary about “appealing to the centre,” if you go into an election with nearly identical policies to those of one the most unpopular Prime Minister’s in living memory, then your vote is going to wind up somewhat similar to his.

Why on earth would anyone expect anything different?

So with those thoughts out of the way, on with the Ramble . . .

  • “It is amusing to be honest. The Tory party faces a PM with no actual mandate, who is as charismatic as a bowl of cold Scottish porridge and who has presided over economically calamitous times... and the best the Tory Party can do is... 36.1 percent.”
    Wonder Dave's party gets 36.1 percent – PERRY DE HAVILAND
  • Just to be clear, that’s 36.1 percent of the 61.8 percent of eligible Britons who voted. So that’s just 22.3 percent of eligible voters that Dave’s “me-too” Labour-Lite politics appealed to.
    Startling, huh.
    And with 38.2 percent of the total possible vote (i.e., 100%-61.8%), that means those staying home and virtually ticking “none-of-the-above” were once again the winners on the night. . .
  • “A plague on all their houses. Who says blogs don't have any influence? Here are the various plagues…”
    And the winner is: none of the above ... – BRIAN MICKLETHWAITE
  • “There were many losers in the election, but none more so than the cultural elite who backed Clegg. They’ve been shockingly exposed.”
    The message of the polls: ‘We don’t agree with Nick’ - BRENDAN O’NEILL
  • In Other British Election Developments, Hamas fails to turn out in numbers expected… [hat tip Kate]
  • "The answer to our woes, is a devolved English Parliament. Let the four constituent nations go their own separate way. let Scotland have independence, let Salmond have his way. Lets the Welsh & the Welsh and Northern Irish go. We moan on this site about the Internal Aid department, well how about we look a bit closer to home. England again has voted overwhelming Conservative, except this morning we are still governed by a party that is led and draws its legitimacy from the huge client state that is Scotland. All the usual suspects will whitter on about the unfairness of the FpTP system, whilst ignoring the biggest unfairness of all."
    Let the Recriminations Begin -  COFFEE HOUSE BLOG
  • “…as for this being an 'extraordinary' election… I cannot recall one where it mattered less which of the largely interchangeable plonkers on offer gets into Number 10. All that will change is which of set of rapacious thugs says who gets snout space at Westminster's trough filled with other people's money.”
    6 May 2010... a day on which nothing important will change - PERRY DE HAVILAND
  • “Why today’s election really is momentous... not because it has offered us any big or inspiring ideas, but because it has confirmed the rise and rise of a new political oligarchy…. The election campaign has brought to a head a trend that has been gathering pace for at least 20 years: the separation of the parties from their social bases of support. This has been a long drawn-out process, and its reality and its consequences have tended to be denied by the parties, or disguised through the rebranding of the parties as something ‘New’.”
    Why today’s election really is momentous... – BRENDAN O’NEILL
  • "Dave had to fight a widely despised Prime Minister leading a Government incompetent and destructive on a scale unseen in living memory. Seldom has there been a softer target; but seldom has one been missed so unnecessarily. With just 36 per cent of the vote, the Tories stood almost still since 2005. They are now on their knees to their other enemy, the Lib Dems." [Hat tip Liberty Scott]
    David Cameron has had this coming to him – SIMON HEFFER
  • As in Britain, so it is in NZ. Danyl has coined a phrase: National's Neologism:
    • Definition: a new policy or initiative launched by the National government that contradicts every principle the party campaigned on and would trigger nationwide outrage, Herald campaigns, online petition, hysterical billboards etc if introduced by a Labour government.
    • Example 1: Remember Bill English's re-prioritised spending - you know, from the back office to the frontline? The very same spending a certain David Farrar called "fiscal discipline."  But this was before Whanau Ora . . .
       Neologism competition– DIM POST
      National's neologism – GOONER
  • Keep up all with the wheeling and dealing at the BBC’s live election ticker.
    And meantime, consider this . . .
_quote ... the Greens won an MP in the enclave of Brighton, but their
share of the vote fell. I find this quite amazing, really. After five
years of relentless environmental yakkery in the mass
media, bombarding us on all channels at once, the Greens
received a lower share of votes than the BNP. All that most Greens
can now look forward to is to return to their yurts, and
prepare for recycling.

- Andrew Orlowski, writing in the Register, “and reaching the fairly sensible
conclusion [says Samizdata] that the reason every political party
did badly was because they are all intellectually bankrupt,
and the public is starting to get this.”
Meanwhile, in other news:
  • PJ O’Rourke on the crises in the US: “America has made the mistake of letting the A student run things. It was A students who briefly took over the business world during the period of derivatives, credit swaps, and collateralized debt obligations. We're still reeling from the effects. This is why good businessmen have always adhered to the maxim: ‘A students work for B students."’Or, as a businessman friend of mine put it, ‘B students work for C students — A students teach.”"
    A Plague of 'A' Students  - PJ O’ROURKE
  • “What are the implications for us of the crisis in Greece?”
    As Goes Greece,… – ROGER PILON
  • “A central government can save the day because it can print money.” If you think I jest, read Paul Krugman.
    Krugman: A Central Government Solves All Economic Problems. Yeah, Right – KURGUMAN-IN-WONDERLAND
  •     “Here’s the baffling thing. Based on everything you’ve been told by the mainstream press over the last two years, their argument is that the best thing to reinvigorate an economy is for the government and the public to spend money.
        “The more the better.
        “That will supposedly stimulate the economy into recovery and everything will be fine.
        “So, we ask, why isn’t that advice being given to the Greeks now?”
    Germans, Greeks and Osama Bin Keynes – KRIS SAYCE
  • “How is it that, in one breath, Democratic senators in the US Congress can denounce Arizona state’s new immigration law as racist and, in the next, submit proposals to introduce some of the most draconian immigration policies in the world?”
    The hypocrisy of Arizona bashing   - ALEX STRANDISH, SPIKED
  • Minister for Social Development Paula Benefit “has just issued a statement about the fall in numbers on the unemployment benefit in April. Rather confusing it is too… In plain English, 4,654 unemployment benefits were cancelled but 4,154 were granted… However there has been an overall rise in working-age beneficiaries from 324,814 to 327,462 or by 2,648. As I said, one step forward, five steps back.”
    One step forward, five steps backLINDSAY MITCHELL
  • Iowahawk has discovered a rare, re-touched reel of the long-lost underground classic film Citizen Kane Gore…
      Citizen Gore – IOWAHAWK
  • “Over at Reason this morning, Jesse Walker wonders what an empirical study of [the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund] would suggest about the incentives facing oil companies…”
    Oil Spills, Incentives, and the Economic Way of Thinking – STEVEN HORVITZ
  • “...As for a drilling moratorium, it is no guarantee against oil spills. It may even lead to more of them. Political fantasies about ending our oil addiction notwithstanding, the U.S. economy will need oil and other fossil fuels for decades to come. If we don't drill for it at home, the oil will have to arrive by tanker and barges. Tankers are responsible for more spills than offshore wells, and those spills tend to be bigger and closer to shore—which usually means more environmental harm.”
    The Louisana oil spill and liberal dreams – VULCAN’S HAMMER
  • “In the short term, the impact of the West Virginia and the Gulf disasters will be terrible.  Lessons learned and applied, however, can turn these tragedies into long run triumphs.   It is important, therefore, that government officials reserve judgment until the investigations are complete, and that they view the results of those investigations as dispassionately as possible.  The lives that have been lost, and those that could be saved, demand no less.”
    Turning Tragedy into Triumph – MASTER RESOURCE
  • “Though the total amount released by the recent BP oil spill can't yet be known, here is a graph that puts the issue in perspective.”
    “The best estimate I can come up with suggests the current spill is around 700 tonnes a day…”
    Oil Spills Over the Years – SHAVING LEVIATHAN
    I Remember When "Liberian Tanker" Was A Household Word – SMALL DEAD ANIMALS

  • David Kline and Henry R. Nothhaft explain why The Patent Office may be the greatest job creator you never heard of. [Hat tip State of Innovation]
    The Biggest Job Creator You Never Heard Of: The Patent Office – HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW
  • “Wall Street crashes by 350 points. The Australian market is down over 10% in less than a month. And Australia’s single most important industry – resources – is being held hostage by the government….
        “But what do they care? While the ex-Fairy Ruddfather cheerily set off a resources market crash, and increased the flight from the Aussie dollar, he’s happily aware that whatever happens to the stock market he’ll still get his lovely taxpayer funded pension.
        “Ah, the life of a parasite. The life of a bloodsucker. The life of a stinking coercive servant….”
    You Can’t Buck the Market – KRIS SAYCE
  • Kevin Rudd’s Resource tax “is just another in a long line of taxes helping to depopulate rural Australia.
        “That depopulation of the outback started with the fringe benefits tax and the removal of accelerated depreciation, both of which penalise companies who provide housing for employees. Every government since then has accelerated the drift to the coastal and capital cities…”
    Taxing the Heart out of Australia – VIV FORBES, CARBON SENSE COALITION
  •     “The Minerals Council of Australia estimates mining companies already contributed about 16% of all corporate income tax revenue last year. BHP alone paid A$6.3 billion in Australian company, state and other taxes over the same period.
        “What Messrs. Rudd and Swan didn’t say Sunday is that this bonanza helped fund the Labor government’s unprecedented spending spree, which sent the country from a A$19.7 billion surplus into an A$32.1 billion deficit in a single year.”
    The WSJ on Rudd’s mining supertax - CATALLAXY
  • More from the ‘your-government-is-not-your-friend’ files. The latest government ad in Pennsylvania [hat tip Joe Maurone]:

  • From the “all-religions-are-your-friends” file, comes this:
        ”Muslims in Malawi have been angered by government plans to ban polygamy.
        “A spokesman for the Muslim Association of Malawi told the BBC the proposed law would discriminate against the country's Muslim minority.
        “He said with about 6% more women than men in Malawi, if polygamy were banned, many women would be left without a husband and become prostitutes.”
    Malawi move to ban polygamy angers Muslims  - BBC NEWS [hat tip Jihad Watch]
  • And just to be fair, “Both holy books have specific instructions for a husband that suspects his wife has been unfaithful. Since over half of the world believes in one or the other, I thought it would be good to compare them here.”
    What to do with an unfaithful wife: The Bible vs. the Quran  - DWINDLING IN UNBELIEF
  • Speaking of being fair, multicultural, and utterly barbaric …
    American Academy of Pediatrics Approves of Clitorectomies – ATLAS SHRUGS
  • “If the Bible is supposedly written by men who are channelling God somehow (i.e., if we accept that the Bible is God’s word), then surely you’d expect the book to be full of wisdom and answers to tough moral questions.  Certainly seems plausible to me.  After all God is perfect right?  So why then do these books contain stories that advocate slavery, sexism, racism and other abhorrent ideas.  Why do they contain creation theories or ridiculous stories about Noah’s Ark? - we know these are false.  Maybe God just has a sick sense of humour.”
    Interesting article: Muhammad and Aisha – TIM R.
  • Clipboard01
  • I can’t embed it here, but this (picture right) is sadly hilarious in a Dilbert kind of way:
     Cartoon: A Day in the Life of an Analyst – BUSINESS INSIDER
  • Okay’ let’s all laugh at the Kiwi accent.
    How to Speak Kiwi, 01 – YOU TUBE
    Hot to Speak Kiwi, 01 – YOU TUBE
  • Actually, don’t just laugh.  Get behind somebody doing something about it.
        "Speech maketh the man!"—Perigo
    LP     “
    A spectre is haunting New Zealand. The spectre of speechlessness. Not the involuntary, temporary speechlessness engendered by an overwhelming emotion, but a willful, permanent speechlessness engendered by a sullen refusal to articulate clearly…
        “If you are a ‘prisoner of the gutters’ but wish to rise out of them, if you are of the barbarians but wish to rise above them, contact Lindsay Perigo. A graduate of the NZBC Announcer Training School from a time when speech standards mattered, and once one of our foremost television current affairs interviewers, Perigo will establish or restore the connection between your brain, tongue and jaw, and set you speaking rather than quacking, droning, mumbling and grunting. He will help you speak in coherent sentences rather than inane banalities such as: ‘Yeah, no, I’m like, oh my God, I’m like, you know, I’m like so totally an airhead.’
        “No, you don’t have to sound like an NZBC announcer; you can sound like an educated, polished and intelligible Kiwi, and be a proud testament to the fact that such a thing is not a contradiction in terms.”
    My New Project: Kiwis Don't Quack! – LINDSAY PERIGO
  • And finally, last time she was in Auckland she spent the evening wrapping the whole audience round her elegant fingers.  She’s one of the finest interpreters of Kurt Weill and classic German cabaret around, and she’s here again in Auckland again on May 15! Here’s the fabulous Ute Lemper singing Kurt Weill’s Surabaya Johnny, which sadly can’t be embedded here.
    • And Mack the Knife, in its original German . . .
    Enjoy! And have a great weekend. PC


  1. The Poms are stuffed. They've been bleeding wealth faster than that oil rig off the coast of Louisianna. Let's see what they have left-

    North Sea Oil running down with no new capacity coming on line and bugger all exploration going on.

    City of London (financial hub) running down with finance sector directing wealth out of the UK and with new regulations imposed by govt steadily making things worse.

    The other sectors of the UK economy are insignificant in magnitude compared to those, except one. That one's government and its "services". That sector is still growing. Meanwhile the supporting base is hollowing out.

    The Poms are going to get exactly what they deserve.

    Democracy is when the people get what they think they want- good and hard.


  2. On the subject of Galloway & the respect party, apparently the NZ branch of this (RAM) has decided to call it a day..

  3. And PC you made it into the Herald on Sunday again.

  4. Which article on HOS Gregster? I don't read the HOS anymore these days because they're a cheerleader for Labour.

  5. Hayden,
    On the letters page, is quoted re the UK election, as Blog of the Week.


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