Diamond Geezer’s coverage of the mayoral race has been entirely on fire. The latest, possibly last, and definitely funniest summary of the campaign I’ve so far seen, is the London Mayoral Hustings 2012:
Paxman: Ahhhhh yes, transport. What are your priorities for the next four years?
Boris: Crossrail, yes, er, that’s something I’d really like to get a chance to finish. I know I still haven’t got the funding yet but, you know, the forms were jolly complicated and I didn’t quite fill them in properly. In the meantime, my cut-price petrol loan scheme has proved terribly successful, helping ordinary Londoners to fill their Landrovers more cheaply. So, cripes, it’s not all bad news.
Paxman: Some people were extremely surprised in 2009 when you started writing a twice-weekly column for the Evening Standard. How do you live with your conscience?
Ken: Look Jeremy, it’s very simple. When Andrew Gilligan left the paper to become the BBC’s ethics correspondent, the Standard suddenly had a vacancy for someone to write vicious spiteful copy attacking the Mayor. I was only too glad to step in
David Aaronovitch is one of the few Decent-ists that I like and respect. So it’s good to see him stating the obvious truths that more or less everyone (whether left or right) has forgotten as we descend in to a Cassandrine orgy of unwarranted gloom:
Taking modern Britain, for all that any country is beset by problems (lost discs, bingers, drug takers or Scottish Nationalists), the underlying facts were – are – that mortgages had become cheapo, unemployment was low, crime was, in general, falling, the economy was performing better than in most other similar countries and there were huge infrastructural improvements, as evidenced in new school buildings and hospitals.
Still true. Will remain true. And the rest is trivial…
Diamond Geezer has an excellent piece on the sterling work that Boris Johnson has done in eradicating crime, misery, poverty, racial disharmony, etc from the town of Henley, and how useful this experience will be if he’s elected Mayor of London…
Would throbbing multicultural London (population seven and a half million) be a better place if it were more like genteel riverside Henley-on-Thames (population ten thousand)? So I headed upriver to Henley at the weekend to find out. And what do you know, I think Boris has it sorted.
No, not “more severe”, just “less effective”:
Firearms offences also increased, up 4% in the whole of 2007 to 9,967… however, gun deaths fell to 49, seven fewer than in the previous 12 months.
What’s wrong with kids today? I’m fairly sure that even when I was 15, I could have achieved a better-than-0.5% hit-rate…
Seriously though, it’s nice to see that crime is falling, both according to police records and to the generally-more-reliable British Crime Survey. Shame the mongers won’t pay a blind bit of attention…
“Can someone please explain on what basis I am supposed to care more about the plight of the white working classes than that of, say, Congolese people driven out of their homes by war?”
(an oasis of sanity in a thread dominated by horrible bigots)
A question for the multiplicity of blogging non-bigots [*] who support the Ham & High’s decision to run an advert for the BNP ahead of the current London elections on Voltaire-ish ‘free speech for all, however disgraceful’ grounds: would you have supported the H&H on the same grounds had it run an advert advocating the legalisation of sex with children?
[the advert would be placed by a hypothetical paedo organisation that wanted to lower the age of consent to 10, but explicitly did not advocate breaking the current laws until any change was made - just to avoid any ‘but they’re inciting illegal activity so it's not the same’ get-outs].
If not, you’re already saying that some people should be denied a platform to advocate opinions that they hold perfectly legally, just because those opinions are vile and wrong – in which case, the only difference with the BNP is the degree to which the opinions advocated are vile and wrong. Which means that you’re saying “even though I sometimes believe in media self-censorship, the BNP should still be allowed a platform because they’re not all that bad”.
If you would have supported the editor’s decision to publish the paedo group’s advert, then you’re certainly consistent. I’m not sure that you’re in line with the general public’s moral compass, though…
[*] i.e. people who think that the BNP are scumbags. Those who think it’s possible simultaneously to be a non-bigot and not think that the BNP are scumbags are wrong, and should be ignored.
In the UK, all debt for which the government is ultimately liable appears as government debt on the national accounts.
If the debt of a PFI company is guaranteed by the taxpayer (as for Metronet, for example, unwisely) then it appears as government debt on the national accounts.
If it does not appear as government debt on the national accounts, that means that the taxpayer isn’t liable for it.
While there are many arguments possible about the benefits or disbenefits of PFI (and, irrespective of whether PFI is a good thing or a bad thing in aggregate, it is certain that the disbenefits are exaggerated and the benefits understated in nearly all discussions of the topic), this isn’t one of them.
From Flat Earth News by Nick Davies:
I spoke to a man who had worked for the Daily Mail for some years as a senior news reporter. He said: ‘They phoned me early one morning and told me to drive about three hundred miles to cover a murder. It was a woman and two children who’d been killed. I got an hour and a half into the journey, and the news desk called me on my mobile and said, “Come back.” I said, “Why’s that?” They said, “They’re black.”
Would you abolish the current right under English law of Orthodox Jews to have civil cases heard in the Beth Din with the agreement of both parties?
If so, why haven’t you protested about the Beth Din previously? If not, then why on earth don’t you think that Muslims should be granted the same rights you are happy to extend to Orthodox Jews?
Update – from dsquared in the comments, a summary of the ways in which the rights available to Orthodox Jews are currently not available to Muslims, and would not be available to Muslims without additional legislation:
[Sharia] arbitration services aren’t in general binding unless they’re recognised by the normal courts, meaning that they are absolutely rife with jurisdiction-shoppers who go to the sharia court in bad faith, with the intention of then going to a normal court if the judgement goes against them. You can’t do this with a Beth Din (or various other courts of arbitration) because they’re binding arbitration. At present there are Sharia Councils which do carry out arbitration, but in the absence of a specific pre-existing contract, it’s not binding.
When John Doe shows up to the court complaining about the deal he received at the Beth Din under arbitration, claiming he’s been made the victim of a capricious and arbitrary ruling, the courts will chuck it out because there’s a lot of history of the Beth Din working as a proper arbitration service. If Richard Roe shows up claiming that Sheikh Joe Bloggs has acted unfairly and arbitrarily in the Sharia Court of Bumsville, then the court will have to take this seriously because they’ve never heard of Sheikh Bloggs or his alleged “court” before.
It might seem reasonable to conclude that things would work a lot better if the British Islamic community could agree on a core of sharia principles that they could all live with, unify the Sharia Councils structure and work toward getting improved legal recognition of its work in arbitration.