Saturday, April 09, 2005

Latigo Flint

Via Cobb, the adventures of the Squinty-eyed Gunslinger and his sidekick Kid Relish.

This morning even before my steel gray eyelids snapped open, my blazing hands had already instinctively slapped thigh, shucked iron, and were in the process of obliterating the fish tank on the far wall. A sharp head snap sent pillow (a pair of shear stockings filled with empty Pabst Blue Ribbon cans) flying backwards, in case an assailant was charging from behind. Legs scissored then flung blanket into air for distractive cover. Two tuck rolls. Exploratory shot through window. Toe clench on bowie knife handle, kick ball change and knife whips into bathroom, slicing through shower curtain. Three preemptive rounds fired in direction of closet, two into recently vacated bed and two shots fired directly overhead for no particular reason.

Time elapsed: 1 point 9 seconds. It was probably quite a sight to behold. But if it impressed Kid Relish, my relatively trusty sidekick who was lounging in the doorway, he didn't show it.

"Mornin' Latty."


When I was a child, every other house in my street contained someone who worked at "the Austin". The nearby Charford council estate was divided between Austin workers and employees of Garringtons, at the time the world's largest drop forging manufacturer, whose hammers lulled me to sleep. Those were the days when 'social housing' contained people who worked for a living, the days when the middle-class complaint was of a working class earning too much - the Jag parked outside the council house syndrome. Garringtons closed in 2002, leaving a large hole in its pension fund. The site is a housing estate for Native Brits fleeing Birmingham. And Charford is now the kind of place where they kick disabled people to death for fun.

Many free-market, libertarian bloggers have seen the Rover receivership, if not as a good thing, at least not as a bad one. Only Mr S&M has reservations. After all, if other people can make cars cheaper than we can, so much the better. We get cheap cars out of it - good for us. Let people do what they're good at. The workers ? They can get other jobs - perhaps those fabled high added value jobs that I hear about every time a cheese factory closes in Goole.

As the ASI Blog said, "Adam Smith's dictum that the end of all production is consumption is now more widely accepted, and the main purpose of industry is seen as the production of goods and services which people will freely and willingly buy.

This no longer, alas, includes Rover cars, but there are new products and services taking their place every year for which the UK can find ready markets. Better, perhaps, to be part of a viable and vibrant future than to lock ourselves into a past of outmoded and unwanted products.

Well, yes. Better indeed to be part of a vibrant future. It's just that isn't the place where the Rover employees and their suppliers find themselves. That little weasel word, 'perhaps'. After all, it's better to have a nice Georgian house with an acre of lawn than a three bedroomed semi. Try knocking dowm someone's semi and then telling them what an opportunity they have.

So, the good folk of Bromsgrove, Rubery and Longbridge can create the new products and services "for which the UK can find ready markets". Let's start by taking a look at the new products, shall we ?

Well ?

I'm waiting.

Can anybody tell me what these new products are ? That we're going to sell to the world ? My new Pentax comes from the Philippines. My PC was assembled in Thailand from Chinese components. When we do invent something, like the Dyson vacuum cleaner, production is offshored and the UK operation consists of 50 highly paid designers and a few bean counters and marketing men. Actually I made those figures up. Halve the number of designers and add 50 marketers !

In the 20s and 30s, the height of the Depression, huge new industries were emerging in the UK. Chemicals, aircraft, electronics, cars. Where are today's equivalents ? Double-glazing that we don't export ? Perhaps pharmaceuticals and biotech stuff, if the animal rights boyos can be kept at bay. Anything else ?

"Oh alright then - we meant services. Look at the City."

I suppose the theory is that a combination of lethargy and convenience (between time zones) will keep the dosh rolling into the City, even when world manufacturing is centred in Asia. Just the way that Florence and Antwerp remained the capitals of world banking despite the rise of Britain, the USA and Germany, eh ? It may take time, but inevitably the services will follow the manufacturing. Ah, but think of the expertise we've built up ! I don't know about you, but when I've opened my commercial insurance company in China I think I'll get the underwriting done by Chinese rather than imported Brits. Who's likely to be able to gauge the risk best ?
Already lower and middle level (like research) City and legal jobs are being outsourced to India. IT jobs are going there too.

"We mean cultural services - books, music, plays, films"

The Churchillian phrase is "the acme of gullibility". The reason American popular culture dominates the globe is connected with the fact that the US is currently the most powerful nation, economically and militarily, on earth. Lose that and see how many people want to see your movies. Percentage wise, it'll be something like the European audience for Chinese films. The market for our stuff in Asia in 50 years will be on a par with, say, the Edwardian Brit market for Spanish novels and music. It'll be interesting to see how a nation of 75 million (remember the new immigrants have a high birth rate) survive on selling the equivalent of So Solid Crew CDs.

And we'll be as a nation on a par with Edwardian Spain. If we're very, very lucky.

Let's just revisit the "high value jobs" theory. This, of course, presumes a highly educated nation. Next question ?

Last, the "cheaper cars" idea. From that perspective, Burkina Faso must be a fantastic place to live. You see, just about everywhere in the world can make cars cheaper that the Burkinistas. What a paradise !

Trouble is, no one in Burkina Faso has got any money.

UPDATE - I posted this, on a similar theme, nearly two years ago. Spot-on with the prediction about call centres, less so on Labour's doom.

UPDATE 2 - the future ? Via Black Informant, the World Intercollegiate Programming Championship results paint a gloomy picture. Nice to see Bangladesh in the top 30, but China, India and the old Eastern Bloc seem to be where the cleverclogs are.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Polly, Pope, and Prophylactics

Light blogging due to work : so take a gander at Ian Murray on the slow but sure separation of the working class and Labour (todays events at Longbridge just reinforce this), James Hamilton with another fine post on the same subject, and Non-Trivial Solutions and Squander Two on the Pope, Aids and condoms. A perfect antidote to Poll Pot, who has discovered Africa and condoms a week later than everyone else.


I'm not a religious person, so I tend to look upon religions as like private members clubs. Stick to the rules, and you're more than welcome. That's why JP2 was good for Catholicism - because he upheld the Catholic tradition. If you don't like the rules, go join the C of E. They don't really have any worth mentioning. The ones you don't like, they can change. Hey, it's a broad church. And indescribably shallow.

SQ2 :

Not being a Catholic myself, it's possible that I've missed some recent doctrinal development, but, last I checked, the Catholic Church was preaching that each person should have a maximum of one sexual partner per lifetime. Follow that advice, and your chances of getting any STD are virtually nil. The African AIDS epidemic has not, therefore, been caused or exacerbated by Catholics doing what the Pope tells them to. In fact, if everyone in the world had followed the Pope's advice, AIDS would be an unknown disease.

Ah, say the idiots, but you can't really expect people to have enough willpower to stick to that rule, can you? Perhaps not, but if people can break one rule, they can break two. If you don't expect people to follow one of the Pope's instructions, why are you convinced that they have no option but to follow one of his others?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Political Policing

Is the Pub Philosopher my long-lost twin ? He's not impressed by the mysterious coincidence of the election announcement with the arrest of the BNP leader, which follows a series of arrests over the last nine months. Charges are then usually dropped after computers have been taken away.

If this kind of harassment was happening to a Left party, Liberty, Amnesty, and the Guardian would be jumping up and down. The collective memory of student days and 'No Platform For Fascists' is too strong for them to do the right thing. Similarly the 'human rights' organisations passed the persecution of Harry Hammond by, and in the United States the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) actually supported Michael Schiavo in his successful bid to have his wife starved to death.

What New Labour are doing is not only a complete perversion of state power, and an attack on the civil liberties of every Briton, it's not even going to work. As long as immigration continues at historically unprecedented levels, and Native Brits find themselves approaching minority status in city after city, politics will inexorably tend towards becoming based on ethnicity. This isn't a trend I welcome, being a old-fashioned follower of H.I.M., but I can't see it going away.

Labour are therefore micturating into a demographic Force 10, not to mention sowing dragon's teeth.

THe Philosopher's views on Why Ben and Chloe Moved To Buckinghamshire also bear a remarkable resemblance to this piece of mine. The man's a genius I tell you !

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

New Blogs

There are some good new Brit blogs emerging.

Albion Blogger at A Very British Insurgency on what used to be called 'racial discrimination' but is now 'positive discrimination' :

How on earth does anybody expect to encourage buy-in to the multicultural experiment that the UK is undergoing when the white majority can see that discrimination is only illegal if they do it but is not illegal - in fact, it's legal and encouraged - if it's carried out against them?

A long and well thought out post - read the whole thing.

Pub Philosopher on immigration and the working class, propmpted by this Herald Tribune piece :

It always amuses me when middle class people condemn working class racism and say: "I don't understand racism," or "I have lots of friends from ethnic minorities," the sub-text being that the working class must all be hate filled savages who are unable to see beyond the colour of a person's skin.

This ignores the fact that most working class and middle class people have totally different experiences of living with immigrants.

Another long post well worth reading, as is the IHT article.

Militant Moderate has a new contributor and an explosion of posts on the election. I'm trying to work out where the Gardeners Arms is that serves Timothy Taylors beer - it doesn't travel well once you get more than 15 miles from Bingley.

Cleverclogs Stumbling and Mumbling ask "whatever happened to Ricardian Equivalence ?"

As I recall, he got injured, lost his place in the Middlesborough team, and now plays in Italy for Parma.

Meanwhile across the pond, two posts on gun control by Mulatto Advocate. I hear a lot about the (true) fact that the areas of the US with the worst crime rates (including gun crime) just happen to be those with the toughest restrictions on gun ownership. What I hadn't really thought about is the effect of these restrictions on the law-abiding poor. After all, the bad boys aren't going to apply for a licence, are they ?

Imagine you're a blue collar family, or a single person making minimum wage. You don't live in the best neighborhood. In fact, you live in one of the worst neighborhoods in the city. Your car and home have been broken into.

You want a handgun to protect yourself, but you can't afford a "Quality" handgun. You have to settle for something less.

Now let's look at this scenario for a minute. Who might fit this description? Off the top of my head I can think of one big group - inner city Blacks and Latinos. Add to this the requirements in these same areas for licensing and in some cases, safety training. You can't afford a gun safety class; hell, you can barely afford the gun. Even the $200 "Saturday Night Special" now costs over $500 because of all the hoops the state (and city) put you through.

This gives you exactly three choices:

Option One:
Bite it off, and jump through the hoops, you'll just have to eat macaroni and cheese all month.

Option Two:
Remain defenseless and at the mercy of the criminals, hoping the Police can get there in time if things really go South.

Option Three:
Become a criminal yourself by buying a piece off the black market without licensing and registration.

Oh sorry, I forgot - you can't get a cheap handgun because they're considered "junk", and have been banned. Man, even an entry level revolver sells for upwards of $350. Forget the semi-autos, they're way too expensive.

So, there you are, poor, Black and defenseless.

Just the way they want you.

The Pope and Africa

Poor Africans, with their false consciousness. Thank heavens they've got Terry Eagleton to articulate on thir behalf the ideas they should have.

Monday, April 04, 2005


When Mr Howard took a look at a traveller site at Crays Hill, near Wickford in Essex, he was given a lot of stick for his demonising of a community of school governors, car tax payers and other upstanding citizens, seeking only to live their immemorial existence at peace with all - but now living in fear of Howards pogroms.

I can't be sure ... but would that be this site at Wickford ?

Amelia Whale, shown here celebrating her 100th birthday, refused to move from the home she shared with her younger brother Leonard in Islington, despite four break-ins in 18 months.

Police installed security bars and CCTV last year after the third burglary. But that did not stop Bernard Gallagher, 23, and Mark O'Brien 26, raiding her home last September and stealing £2,000.

The pair, both travellers, were caught on camera and traced to a campsite. They now face jail.

Miss Whale, a former leather worker, had lived in the house off Essex Road, for 93 years.

Gallagher and O'Brien admitted one count of burglary in court last Friday.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard that they and an accomplice forced their way in while Miss Whale was in the sitting room. They then ransacked the flat, rifling through boxes and throwing them on to the floor.

They even dragged Miss Whale up from her chair to search underneath for her pension book. She was unable to stand up by herself.

Eventually the burglars discovered the Whales' life savings, stashed in a shoe box.

The CCTV set up at Miss Whale's home helped identify all three men. Police arrested Gallagher and O'Brien at a caravan site in Wickford, Essex. They will be sentenced on Friday, but the hunt for their accomplice goes on.

The thing I love about the modern Left is their concern for the truly vulnerable in society.

Another Resistance Triumph

Another great blow struck for the 'left', as Iraqi insurgents torch the Sadr City HQ of the Communist Party, according to this report.

"late Sunday in Baghad, attackers beat three watchmen and set the headquarters of the Communist Party in the Sadr City neighbourhood on fire, party member Kadim al-Saadi said."

An Iraqi man pours water on smoldering debris at the Communist Party headquarters in the Sadr City section of Baghdad, Iraq Monday, April 4, 2005. Late Sunday, attackers beat three watchmen and set the headquarters fire, a party member said. It was unclear why the office was targeted.(AP Photo/Karim Kadim

Hat tip to No Turning Left, from whom I pinched the picture and quote.

Is It Worth It ?

You write pieces on postal vote fraud and nobody notices.

You take politics seriously.

But if you want to pull in the punters, just get a video link. My record hit-count for a day (500-odd) was triggered by people searching for head-chopping video.

Today, 640 and rising - all because of my Lee Bowyer post. I don't even know if the video link still works - I've got my copy though.

I guess people are more interested in football than politics. Can't you be interested in both ?

So in the spirit of keeping the numbers up and appealing to the new audience - I give you a random selection from the Babe Index, as well as a couple of sites devoted to clubbing.

Social Mobility

I read Ruth Kelly in the Guardian a week ago, mending fences with the faithful in her Fabian lecture. She noted that since the 1960s social mobility had reduced in Britain, and that what your parents did for a living is more important now than it was then. She didn't seem to notice that it was then that the comprehensive scheme began.

I know my children, at State comprehensives, are getting a much worse education than I got at State grammar.

Snafu at Not Proud Of Britain has noticed, too.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

"I lost him to a jukebox and a pinball machine"

So Norm missed Emmylou's birthday. Seems the right time to remind folks that there's only one song about Amarillo. I used to play a mean game of pinball, too.

If we only hadn't stopped in there for coffee
If someone hadn't played the Window Up Above
He'd still be mine today but he heard those fiddles play
One look and then I knew this must be love
Oh that pinball machine was in the corner
Well he saw the lights and he had to hear 'em ring
And he never was the same after he won his first free game
Oh I lost him to a jukebox and a pinball machine

Oh Amarillo what'd you want my baby for
Oh Amarillo now he won't come home no more
You done played a trick on me hooked him in the first degree
While he put another quarter push Dolly and then Porter
While he racks up fifty thousand on the pinball machine

Pinball photo from this excellent site.

New Progressive Anglican Theology

Thinking about it, I'm surprised we didn't see this coming.

The Jewish Tribe of India

Via Mirabilis, this from Haaretz :

Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar decided on Wednesday to recognize the members of India's Bnei Menashe community as descendants of the ancient Israelites. Amar also decided to dispatch a team of rabbinical judges to India to convert the community members to Orthodox Jews. The Bnei Menashe community consists of close to 7,000 members of the Kuki-Chin-Mizo tribe, which lives in northeast India near the border of Myanmar (formally Burma). For generations they kept Jewish traditions, claiming to be descended from the tribe of Menashe, one of the ten lost Israeli tribes that were exiled by the Assyrians in the eighth century B.C.E. and have since disappeared.

Jeet at Way Of The Intercepting Fisk discussed the possible Israelite provenance of the South African Lemba tribe a while ago.

"A perfect and consistent image of the modern world"

Aaro on the evil Right and their evil thoughts :

"There are too many immigrants. Criminality goes unpunished while law-abiding citizens are victimised. Hard-working people are penalised by high taxes that go to pay for no-hopers to study Mickey Mouse courses at former polytechnics. It's all going to the dogs."
Yay ! He broke the code ! Nick Cohen's on message too :

"Liberal Democrats are so soft on crime they would tear down the jails and let murderers roam the streets; Labour is sending paedophiles to rape your daughters, while it puts up your taxes, dumps gypsies in your backyard and calls you a 'racist' if you complain. "
Tell it like it is, Nick !

From the Observer editorial :

"Britain is the well man of Europe."

But from Mary Riddell :

"our fractured society ... suddenly I am afraid ... I am scared by the statistic that three-quarters of boys excluded from school, as he was, have used a weapon. I am disturbed that a teaching union has reported a surge in classroom violence .... most of all, I am alarmed that, despite the overall fall in crime, a new mood of casual cruelty is fermenting in cities ... why the knives and the gangs of teenagers practising the elastic-hipped swagger of the pretend assassin? Why the wave of rapes and murders combining adult savagery and the capricious pointlessness of childish rage?"
Cheer up, Mary ! Everything's wonderful. I'm afraid you've been listening to that nasty Mr Howard again. Talk to Nick and David - they'll set you right.

John Paul II

Goalkeeper, skier, climber, national liberator, a brave man and a great Christian who resisted all temptations for compromise with a secular world and the death culture. Not to mention forgiving, and visiting in prison, someone who'd put three bullets into him. He walked it like he talked it. Where shall we find such another ? Certainly not in England.

Image - Aberystwyth University Catholic Society
"We see you welcomed by all the Saints you have recognized, cupping the face of that tiny nun once again in your great strong hands, and hearing the “Well done” that is the true crown of a Christian."

Marcus has the words, as does the (Anglican) Gray Monk.

I won't even bother reading the Guardian obit. I could write it myself.

" ... abortion ... right to choose ... women ... contraception ... HIV ... developing world ... Africa ... condoms ... death ..."

On the credit side " ... criticised death penalty in US ... disagreed with Bush over Iraq ..."

UPDATE - complete links to comment and obituaries at Thinking Anglicans.