Yes nucular, no Tridentular

Supporters of nuclear weapons systems like Trident generally justify the cash by saying things like ‘dangerous world, Kim Jong Il and Ahmadinejad very bad men, we can’t just disarm’. Or, more cynically, ‘place on world table, we can’t just disarm’.

I’m not totally sold on this argument – after all, the US will continue to have nuclear weapons for as long as it has a military-industrial complex [*] – and anyone who we can’t defeat with our conventional forces is realistically also going to be a strategic threat to the Yanks, no matter how annoyed they might be with our lack of military spending. And ‘place on world table’ is awesome for a few hundred diplomats and politicians whilst making c.sod all difference to anyone else.

But let’s say it’s true: we need nuclear weapons to deal with global security threats and enhance our prestige. Fine – but I don’t think I’ve seen any coherent argument for why we need to spend £60-80bn on Trident, rather than achieving all the ‘potential for revenge’ and ‘woo, we’re a nucular state’ through a lower-tech programme like India’s – which would cost somewhere between 10% and 25% as much.

That would still give us ballistic and cruise missiles capable of obliterating anyone except for the US and Russia – who we wouldn’t be able to obliterate with Trident either, even if we wanted to (not least because most operational aspects of Trident are controlled by the US). Which ought to be enough, oughtn’t it?

Anything I’m missing…?

[*] which we don’t to quite the same extent.

Our aviation correspondent writes in

Following this research into GE-made Airbus engines cutting out in ice, he say:

So far as the GE-powered AF 447 is concerned, the potential woes go on mounting:

* Dodgy AF training for weather
* Failure to change course for weather
* Sensors buggered by extreme temperature and/or turbulence
* Avionics gave up – handed control to pilots
* Who were probably asleep when the woes started
* And probably were only two junior officers (captain on rest break)
* Engines vulnerable to flame-out
* Plane previously damaged
* etc., etc.,

I’m continuing to avoid AF.

I also note that the French authorities leading the search failed – despite having a nuclear submarine easily capable of deep-water searches – to find the black boxes that would have shown whether the crash was the fault of the French national airline, the French national aircraft manufacturer, or something mysterious and improbably neither-of-the-above. This is my ‘shocked’ face.

Update: Air France has great deals in international flights right now. See also: hotels in Xinjiang, greased-pig-racing weekends, Labour prospective candidatures, etc.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-07-12

  • Noting the correlation between ‘people who make noise complaints’ and ‘miserable bastards who’re jealous that other people get to have fun’. #
  • It’s one-to-one in my book. #
  • I’ve never made a noise complaint. It’s only noise, FFS: sleep through it, or kill yourself if you’re too pathetic to manage that #
  • Actually, that’s a lie: my ex once made me complain to a neighbour about noise. I respected her less for it. We broke up shortly after. #
  • Clearly if I were an honourable man who valued principles over domestic harmony, I’d have given the ‘sleep or kill self’ response #
  • RT @qwghlm Religion enshrined in law telling people what they can’t do one day of the week when most people don’t practice it – backwards #
  • Gibbering incoherent nonsense FTW: http://bit.ly/LXi3P #
  • “If you imagined the most boring person ever there’s a good chance he’d be called Roger & come from Switzerland” http://is.gd/1oJ7u #
  • Hard to not: RT @catdonnelly Is it not odd to hoover the tiles out front of your house in only pants, whilst simultaneously looking shifty? #
  • “a crisis they did not create” – perhaps, but did massively profit from the upside http://bit.ly/33TUm7 #
  • RT @uaf Cops swoop on BNP terrorists http://bit.ly/WkdAW. RT and get this trending! #theBNParetwats #
  • Fair point – RT @qwghlm @johnb78 @uaf Even alleged murderous fascists have the right to presumed innocence, surely? #
  • Can someone explain why locking this chap up is a Good Idea? – http://bit.ly/GxiQe #
  • Loony win: http://bit.ly/bURrG #
  • Head still not quite right. Hoping early, sober night will sort it out. Apparently lost weekend isn’t the best followup to jetlag after all #
  • RT @themanwhofell Poor Michael Jackson. He is not The King of Pop. He is The Jonathan King of Pop. #
  • Off to Leeds at the weekend. First-class-return-for-£60-woo #
  • R Herring’s nicked iPhone experience reminds me of all my cop interactions – very helpful, despite trivial offence http://tinyurl.com/mj9u2f #
  • Makes me wonder about the right-whingers who think police never turn up, help etc – is it because they’re rude arrogant twunts maybe? #
  • RT @JonnyB Basically, all you have to do to get new followers is to talk in nouns. Wine, horse racing, flowers, garden furniture, porn. #
  • http://bit.ly/XtBNs http://bit.ly/UThZc – yay, my allies aren’t as bigoted as the Tories; shame they’ve fuck all clue #
  • Good piece in @londonist on the ‘immigrants are taking our houses’ lie from @jonnelledge http://bit.ly/18JxQp #
  • RT @CathElliott Letter to my 17yo daughter, in which D Cameron refers to adult female Tory candidate as a”girl” – http://twitpic.com/9rxmn #
  • Utter bollocks from C4 news: http://bit.ly/3r7uLj – cloning and intercepting GSM/CDMA mobiles = impossible outside the lab #
  • Voicemail hacking, downloading spyware, and bribing network engineers possible, obviously #
  • Sensible gov’t move to save money; Taxpayers Alliance objects: http://bit.ly/u0QoT #
  • People who whistle, play YouTube videos out loud, or talk, in offices should all be hanged. Bring back the Victorian workplace. #
  • RT @johnbrissenden @STWuk Will Jack Straw prosecute himself under his new war criminals law? http://bit.ly/sV4n6 #
  • Making scallops and bacon. Oh yeah. #
  • Chinese government in ‘are corrupt evil bastards who fit people up for political reasons’ shock: http://bit.ly/JClxW #
  • Walked past a homeless guy who was singing “when I was young I thought life was so logical”. I said that’s Supertramp. He said ta very much #
  • In a better world, this kind of detailed investigation would be in the papers: http://bit.ly/H3cSv #
  • Why is the only decent polemical investigative journalism now on blogs and in ageing rock mags ( http://bit.ly/IzE6E )? #
  • RT @djbarker http://twitpic.com/9vd4i – The guy in this car just told me I’m not allowed to take his photo (via @qwghlm) #
  • Nicholas Penny in ‘is a dismal twat’ shock: http://bit.ly/Sxrdh (via @AdamBienkov) #
  • Haha RT @franksting: “11 Photos Where Black People Were Awkwardly Photoshopped In or Out” http://bit.ly/JWdB0 (via @mrpower) #
  • Across The Univers #filmfonts #
  • Zapf to the Future #filmfonts #
  • Madame Sans-Serif #filmfonts http://bit.ly/HRAoy #
  • I Love Lucida #filmfonts #
  • Last Chancery Harvey #filmfonts #
  • Apparently these are the chaps on fire: http://www.futurecapitalpartners.com/ #
  • #followfriday @mrpower @hungbunny @kara_simsek @preachypreach @blueprintmag @flashboy #
  • Epic (non-vandalistic) graffiti fun: http://bit.ly/DldSX – via b3ta #
  • Quite funny – http://dailyweek.com – but no RSS feed so I’ll never see it again :-( #
  • Being part of a pub co-operative could be rather fun, anyone else upferit? http://bit.ly/tWnTr (via @theblogpaper) #
  • In Bedfordshire. Wish this was a twee euphemism #
  • Looking forward to LFAT’s impassioned defence of Simon Bikindi http://bit.ly/gRNQS http://is.gd/1uyVF #
  • mildly surprised to discover the festival i’ve been dragged to LEe #
  • mildly surprised to discover the festival i’ve been dragged to Leeds for is actually a school fete #
  • On the plus side, only 5 hours til Chumbawamba come on #
  • on plus side, a steel drum band of schoolkids is playing Teenage Kicks #
  • …and now One Step Beyond. Epic. #
  • too much wholesome enthusiasm. have gone to old man pub to drink guinness and eat scampi fries #
  • Back. more festivally & less schooly. ukeleles go! #
  • ukelele people covering Teenage Dirtbag in the style of the Sundays. Or I’ve taken too many drugs. VIEWER DECIDES #

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Tax proposal

A lot of moaning about corporation tax in leftie-blogland today, for no particularly discernible reason. How about this as a ‘no big corporation tax dodging’ principle to adopt at G8:

* All countries adopt the current UK system of charging the parent company tax at the national rate for its home country, with all tax paid abroad offset up to the national rate for its home country

* Only companies that agree to adopt the practice above, and to nominate a registered country as their home country, are allowed to list on regulated stock exchanges

* G8 ministers decide which countries count as ‘registered’, based on principles such as ‘don’t take the piss’, ‘aren’t Ireland’, etc.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-07-05

  • Yes, Mumbai is indeed hotter and damper than London. Including all of London’s Turkish baths. #
  • Good @realdmitchell article, most of the commenters are ignorant fucktards: http://bit.ly/IY5YC #gasthenonswearingcuntwits #
  • I agreee about 75% with this piece – http://bit.ly/10sbZI – but 100% with running it now rather than deferring to sentimental ‘respect’-ery #
  • Idly contemplating whether to order idli. Or a kebab. And whether a bottle of wine would be excessive. #
  • This is rather sweet, but will make you feel *very* old: http://bit.ly/UZ497 #
  • What’s the best way to defend democracy? A military coup, of course! Mary O’Grady = massive eejit http://bit.ly/kX3f0 #
  • This is an easy one – “no, of course not” – RT @libcon Article: Do we need an ‘Armed Forces Day’? http://bit.ly/DwoBg #
  • This is what globalisation is for: so I can sit in a Hyderabad hotel room, drunkish on decentish local red, slagging off Brits on Twitter #
  • Odd news: RBS beats HSBC to come 4th in “World’s Strongest Bank” league http://bit.ly/5oTJW #
  • In 1997-00, Tories so unpopular that OUCA = uglygeekboys. Mebbe why I’ve always written ‘em off. 1989 a different story http://bit.ly/7l6bT #
  • Ooops. Nearly sent a msg to @herring1967 referencing a gag that was actually by @realdmitchell. Not sure how I could’ve’ lived that down #
  • How come @bigdaddymerk gets the Queen for 69p a year, whereas when I try I’m arrested for high treason, stalking and gerontophilia? #
  • As far as I can see, nobody in the UK’s been mad enough to draw this comparison: http://tinyurl.com/nfedlw – but give them time #
  • I don’t get the Madoff sentencing. Some rich people lost some money. Why’s that 150 years’ jail, rather than 150 hours’ community service? #
  • Thanks to @beatniksalad, I discover that Bernie Madoff cleaned out the Kissingers. Surely reason for forgiveness in & per se? #
  • Need to go to bed, as need to get up at 0430, catch an intercontinental flight, arrive, do a day’s work and go to a gig. #preemptivelytired #
  • (nb: it’s 8pm here) #
  • Grr. Obviously the day I get from plane to luggage in 15 mins wil be the day luggage takes 45 mins to arrive #
  • fuck me, London hotter than India and less air conditioned. #
  • Can’t think of a witty comment but digging the VHS #virgilioanderson #
  • Flash picnic in Bermondsey Square at 1730 today – please RT: http://tinyurl.com/lz58mk #
  • The Economist meets the King of Sweden, is impressed: http://bit.ly/Rnyf5 #
  • If I met the King of Sweden I’d find it very difficult to avoid asking him to buy me things that I was needin’… #
  • Nobody tell Michael O’Leary about this, OK? – http://bit.ly/iSj9T #
  • I’m meeting a man in a pub later today who’s going to sell me two live crustaceans. I feel disturbingly like Withnail as a result #
  • END OF WEEK #
  • i’ve got a carrier bag with two live animals in it. this seems weird #
  • Today is a day for drinking wine and cooking lobsters. Yes it is. #
  • What is it with F1 and Nazis? http://bit.ly/3wPXCH (via @cynicaldragon) #
  • Preparing for housewarming. Champagne and lobsters FTW. If you’re following me you’re invited. #
  • nef really are an appalling bunch of charlatans: http://bit.ly/PI7Lj is some of the worst analysis of anything I’ve ever seen. #
  • aaagh. hangover-tastic. vague memories of sleazy and bad things. sunday morning, in other words. #

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Obvious ‘Madoff with the money’ gag

Over at Bystander’s, some sanctimonious caants are talking a load of sanctimonious cant about one of the financial services community’s finer comedians, Bernie Madoff, and why he’s a Very Bad Man Indeed.

They pointed me to this document, which is absolutely superb – the self-pitying ramblings of people who, having grown used to receiving copious quantities of pretend money-for-nothing, now believe their lives are ruined because they have to live off their employee pensions.

My comment there was:

Some people who were super-rich are now rich; some people who were rich are now on the same level as everyone else. And all of them were *utterly, unimaginably stupid* to entrust their money to someone like Madoff. Their whiny sense of entitlement doesn’t exactly contribute to one’s sympathy for them, either. “Oh noes, I’m no longer a gazillionaire, instead I just have to live on my pension like every other bloody pensioner…”

For those who’re wondering ‘what happened to the money’, there never was any – he paid out the $60bn that he received as fake profits to his investors. In other words, he took $60bn from gullible shmucks, and paid it out mostly to the same gullible shmucks. That’s why ‘harmless redistribution’ above – the scheme’s only impact was to reward early investors at the expense of latecomers, like all Ponzi schemes.

…and if I were a US taxpayer, I’d be marching in the streets against the greedy morons getting a penny of my money in compo.

…and I stand by every word. I simply don’t understand tough sentencing for financial crimes, given that money simply doesn’t matter that much, and nearly everyone who loses out in a financial scam thoroughly deserves to do so.

Conjectures

This Spectator piece brings a couple of conjectures to mind:

1) Anyone who uses the phrase ‘pie in the sky’ is an idiot who should be ignored.

2) Anyone who believes absolute national debt, rather than national debt as a proportion of GDP, is a figure with any relevance to anything is an idiot who should be ignored.

These conjectures, happily, tie up with an existing known fact: that Fraser Nelson is an idiot who should be ignored.

Edifying spectacle of the day

Read a selection of grumpy middle-aged Tories and Libertoonians slate 18-year-old kids for being pompously grumpy about getting a stupid question in their History A-level.

CHILD PSYCHOLOGY NEWSFLASH: bright kids are often pompously grumpy, and are usually far too worried about exams.

…however, the concept of right-wing bloggers being upset by grumpy pomposity is leaning towards ‘white males are the most oppressed group’ levels of un-self-aware lunacy… oh, wait, most right-wing bloggers believe that too.

At least the kids will mostly grow out of it.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-28

  • Lewes = pretty town. A23 between Croydon & Elephant & Castle = road to, from & via hell. Glad to be back in N19 #
  • RT @PreachyPreach Germany does its best to ensure a long prolonged recession. http://bit.ly/h9XE6 #
  • “Miners and police unite in beating the crap out of Greenpeace anti-coal protestors” #worldwithoutThatcher #
  • If Stephen Hester makes his full pay packet, govt profits on its RBS stake will be £100 for every person in the UK. I’m happy with that deal #
  • RT @antonvowl Only the Conservatives could be angry that a Conservative got elected as Speaker #
  • Does this guy get time off his sentence for the kneecapping: http://bit.ly/19tGVc ? Suspect not, but would probably be fairer if so #
  • (and would deter other vigilantes) #
  • Seems 2b working: RT @themanwhofell if the Incredible Hulk is your favourite Marvel superhero, apply a green tint to your avatar. Please RT #
  • Evening defined ‘bittersweet’, dinner with 2 women I used to be in love with & vv, now all friends, great time, depressing bed-home-solo #
  • Conversation of the night: parallels between Ezra Pound’s antisemitic anti-bank Depression poetry and modern anti-bank narratives. ENJOYED #
  • Someone just followed me offering ‘total happiness’. I blocked him. #
  • RT @bengoldacre David Tredinnick MP claims £510 for astrology software: guess this makes him both stupid AND stupid #
  • RT@themanwhofell I’m not going to Glastonbury but I may walk to East Finchley or Wood Green or Crouch End, possibly wearing a hair shirt. #
  • RT @mrpower Prince Charles makes effort to reduce personal spending. Now brushes own teeth and wipes own arse. Next stage: Feeding himself. #
  • MP expenses PR man is paranoid loony: ‘this is dynamite, it’s big trouble, I could be arrested, deported or disappeared’ http://is.gd/1bFQw #
  • interesting one – RT @pressgazette Journalism job vacancy: Online news editor for Press Gazette http://tinyurl.com/mqd28v #
  • I hate the BBFC, they’re a bunch of spacky mongoloid joeys: http://bit.ly/TD3xY #
  • Things I don’t understand about Twitter: how an obvious spambot like @createincome has almost as many ‘followers’ as ‘following’ #
  • Vile views, positive outcome – Nixon’s racism moderated his opposition to abortion: http://tinyurl.com/lzn79o (via @jonnelledge) #
  • Anyone who plays music in an office should be instantly shot. Ditto anyone who blows an airhorn. I hate salespeople. #
  • Whistling, also. Indeed, whistling in any context outside of a musical performance should be punished by boiling alive. #
  • For all Patrick Foster’s awfulness, at least he screwed over the twunts at the ABD: http://8mpe5.tk (via @TACJ who seems less impressed) #
  • RT @PreachyPreach RIP Swells. http://bit.ly/16aUc6 #
  • This makes perfect sense, although doubtless will outrage silly people: http://bit.ly/nF1Rz #
  • This is absolutely WIN – brilliant demolition of Tory strategy post-2007 and vindication of what the gov’t have done: http://bit.ly/bJvBg #
  • Anyone want a ticket for Bruce Springsteen in Hyde Park on Sunday? Offers accepted #
  • Blimey, Michael Jackson’s dead and the first I knew of it was my friends’ sarky Facebook comments. #
  • RT @bigdaddymerkfor all the joking, I’m kinda sad. Jacko made ace music and was a part of my childhood. rest in peace you freaky weirdo. #
  • Actually, that’s the anthem, innit – “Shine On You Freaky Weirdo”. If only Quincy Jones and Eddie Van Halen were as talented as… oh, wait #
  • It’s actually pretty rude, from a UK pundit POV, for Jacko to die during Glasto – they’ll be far too wankered (inspired by @richardherring) #
  • RT @bigdaddymerk for all the joking, I’m kinda sad. Jacko made some ace music + was a part of my childhood. rest in peace you freaky weirdo #
  • (the @bigdaddymerk tweet was originally before the ‘Shine On” tweet, but I messed up the quoting. You wanna make something of it?) #
  • Nasty, but funny – RT @JamieRoss7 Michael Jackson must have finally destroyed that painting of an ageing black man he kept in his attic. #
  • I like the fact that #Rip Micheal Jackson is a trending topic. Whenever I’m dead, I hope #Rip Jhon Band is similarly popular #
  • “He’s a tinfoil-hatted, privacy obsessed gimp who runs a very dull blog” http://tinyurl.com/lrfm2f – oh, wait… #
  • Whilst I hate Perez Hilton, this is EXCELLENT: http://twitpic.com/8et2f – as is anything that upsets the morons who’re upset by #jacksonfail #
  • Everyone connected with the Evening Standard should be sent to Wimbledon Common and enslaved by wombles #
  • Nigel Williams, author of The Wimbledon Poisoner, would never stoop so low as to write for the Evening Standard #
  • RT @Habitat_UK – I can’t believe Michael Jackson died during Wimbledon – now buy some furniture #toomanymemes #
  • Mass moonwalk 6pm today @ Liverpool St. Please RT #
  • Grumpy pretentious middle-aged wankers wankify: http://brsxh.tk #
  • Tenuous: http://tinyurl.com/lcvklt #
  • Irresponsible FTW: http://tinyurl.com/mdchcq (from B3ta) #
  • waiting for train to office to train to train to airport to plane to lunch tomorow #
  • to plane to other office to hotel to plane to train to train to HOME! #
  • people keep saying today is muggy. rubbish, i haven’t been mugged once #
  • suspect india in monsoon will be hotter, humider, anyway… #
  • Private Eye definitely becoming Torier and more twattish. If such a thing possible. #
  • UPGRADE woo! #

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The idle musings of John B