Thursday, 29 October 2009

Artificial sperm and eggs

Had to laugh at Mac's interpretation of it.

The minimum wage should not rise

The TUC is calling for the minimum wage to rise by 20p, to £6. Quite clearly they don't realise that we are in recession (or are ignorant).

Wage rigidity is a major cause of unemployment and indeed depressions - they hold back job creation and therefore the utility of unused capacity to increase growth.

But that isn't the point - why is government intervening in the labour market? All the minimum wage does is stops people willingly working for lower than the minimum wage getting jobs. Does anyone fill up your car with petrol now? No. In fact, despite what they say about it "not causing any unemployment in the previous 12 years", it actually priced a certain band of people out of the labour market altogether and pushed them on to state benefits - those who can only work for lower wages. They need the experience of a lower paid job first perhaps, then can move upwards and into higher paid work. (Obviously Labour just wants to throw them all straight towards university to read Media Studies).

It's one thing having a minimum wage in the good years, but in a recession it's economic suicide. It shouldn't be increased, it should be scrapped, or at least suspended until employment levels have recovered. Wage fluidity is a must in hard times - distorting markets makes them reallocate resources a lot less quickly.

I also can't understand why David Cameron calls it a "good thing" (why do no MPs stand up against it?) - I think it's a good thing having a job and a bad thing being on benefits because you're priced out of the labour market!

Once again trade unions push for economic suicide - and clearly don't recognise that better living conditions is long run - you may start on a lower wage, but you'll get to a higher wage and better living standards in a matter of years. It's better than not having a job and relying on the state.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

So what are they for then?

ISA checks for those who don't work with children.

I realise it's not compulsory, just people looking for a competitive advantage in the market, but it's sad that anyone would care about the relevance of the ISA.

The problem is that this mass movement towards people getting ISAs will get everyone swept into it, meaning everyone is submitting themselves to a government database. I suppose the same argument is made against capitalism regularly. But that's private firms and not all-knowing government.

I don't know whether to play devil's advocate or not with this one.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

EU President

I don't think there should be an EU President, at any point. I don't think Lisbon has democratic legitimacy - British voters had legitimate expectations of a referendum (2005 manifesto - all parties) and didn't get one - and Ireland had to vote twice.

But if we are resigned, the last person it should go to is Blair. He jumped before the electorate got rid of him here (the Commission is the place for failed politicians, so it's a surprise he isn't there yet), and practically sold us out to the EU - rebate gone, opt-outs gone, British interests not defended. Would he defend British interests as EU President? Or more to the point, would he be allowed to defend British interests as EU President? Would his oath forbid it? Would, by having a British EU President (who none of us want in the first place) we be forced into "full" membership - the Euro, Schengen, etc?

And to get rid of a discredited Labour government, only for the new supreme president to be the former leader of this discredited government, would just irritate the voters.

Let him speak to the few who want to hear him - and leave him well away from a post no one wants him in (and no one wants the post!)

Saturday, 24 October 2009

BBC: biased and lacking logic

This may be a surprise, given Germany's history of maintaining a highly regulated "social market economy," and the fact that its export-focused industry is suffering badly because of the market failure that has devastated industrialised economies the world over.
So the market failure mantra appears again, and surprisingly enough trying to say that freer markets as the result of the crash is a surprising response.

But wait a minute. They can't even get their logic right. A "highly regulated social market economy". That's not a free market. Market failure? Clearly the market isn't causing the failure. Perhaps the regulation is causing the failure? Perhaps tax cuts are the right idea, so Germans have more disposable income to spend on goods. Might reduce their export dependency too.

But yet again the BBC doesn't have a clue. The markets failed because they were distorted by governments. Blaming "the market", which is just a means of exchange, misses the point.

What Nick Griffin really thought

Very funny video, and probably has a sense of truth through all of Griffin's I don't have a clue what they'll accept me saying mentality on Thursday night.

Postal Strikes

My copy of the Economist hasn't come today. Not that I particularly like reading the Keynesian "consensus" and other rubbish (see climate change), but I suppose as far as economics journals go there's not much better. Shame that something that was founded in opposition to the Corn Laws doesn't seem to support free markets as much as it should.

It makes me wonder - a lot of my post has been sent via TNT (the logos on the envelopes and such) - so why doesn't the Economist do the same? I suppose it might still be praising the fiscal stimulus (that clearly hasn't worked anyway) to think about practical issues, like losing subscribers. In fact, looking online (since it's probably the best way to beat the strike), they haven't even got an article about the postal strikes. Will there be one next week, after the strike has taken hold a little?

What does the Economist really stand for at all?

Friday, 23 October 2009

Six quarters of negative growth

Labour's recovery policies are really working, aren't they?

This is the longest and worst recession since records began in the 1950s - and the reasons we aren't coming out of it are quite simple.

1. No business confidence. The growing budget deficit is seen as deferred taxation. They also don't like the look of the 50% rate, or the possible EU hedge funds directive. Therefore, businesses don't want to expand supply again.

2. Banks cannot lend. The interest rates are low yes, and the money supply has been expanded through QE, but that extra money is just being stored up in banks' reserves. The problem here is that the regulator is trying to look like it's doing something, and has implemented a measure that should have come at the top of the boom, not in the recession - higher capital ratios. Banks don't actually have enough money to lend (and no one wants to save because of the ultra-low interest rates), so regulation is one reason that we aren't getting out of the slump. Then we have crazy suggestions like the windfall tax on banks' profits, which would surely stop the financial sector's recovery for a bit longer.

Keynesianism has been tried again. Just like in the 1930s, it's failed again. Regulation has been tried again. Just as its hopelessness helped the crash occur, its hopelessness will prevent recovery.

Nick Griffin on Question Time

He was absolutely hopeless. He seemed to regard the whole thing as some sort of joke from what I could see, grinning at the most inappropriate of times. He was very shifty and couldn't give a straight answer (funny that he criticises the mainstream parties for similar things).

It's quite obvious why he couldn't give a straight answer - he doesn't want to air his openly racist views on national television. He even tried to say that European law prohibited him from being openly racist, denying the Holocaust, etc.

Either way, I think it would have made those considering the BNP realise that they are an odious bunch, not to be taken seriously.

I also wasn't happy how it became all about the BNP - we have a postal strike going on, we are in a recession, and as the old saying goes, a week is a long time in politics. This is Question Time - why not ask the other questions? How about Nick Griffin's view on the postal strike - surely that would expose his left-wing economic policy, something that reads somewhere in between Labour's 1983 manifesto and Hitler's programme for government. In fact, I wasn't happy that Jack Straw said that "groups on the right [stir up racial hatred]". Are the BNP right-wing? Their economic policy certainly isn't, and I don't know what is socially "right-wing" these days. Why not expose the BNP's generally authoritarian views, rather than just concentrate on race?

Missed opportunity in some ways, I feel.

Thursday, 22 October 2009


I'm aware I'm a bit late on this, but Cameron is looking at all-woman shortlists, imposed from the centre. This is not a conservative response to a problem!

Yes, there aren't that many women in Parliament. There are some very good women (Ann Widdecomme comes to mind) who got there by merit. The only female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, got there by merit. That is the conservative way - the best person for the job gets it - an extension of Smith's division of labour surely.

That principle should be applied here. We want the best MPs, not the best female MPs, because they won't necessarily be the best MPs (they might, but it's not as likely). As well as this, isn't it quite insulting to women that they have to be given favours to gain seats over men?

ConservativeHome sums it up very well for me. It also mentions the central imposition of shortlists - it is up for the local association to choose a shortlist, and the candidate should be chosen in an open primary.

Sunday, 18 October 2009


Ministers are planning a windfall tax raid on banks. What?!

Let's put this in context. Banks are expected to have much higher capital ratios (knee-jerk reaction from the regulator) so are trying to build them up, with low interest rates (so no-one wants to save money to build them up) yet are still expected to lend out money.

So acting in a government-like way, you could say, they also plan a huge tax on profits. This will only have the effect of delaying any recovery. The financial services sector is the bedrock of our economy; if we hold it down, we won't recover. Additionally this tax will hit the banks that made profit and generally weren't bailed out - Lloyds et al made losses and won't suffer. Rewarding failure anyone?

It doesn't inspire anyone with any confidence, in two ways - will banks be able to hold up their capital ratios in the future to be able to lend? How? And as well as this, another policy clash shows no sign of direction from the government. It's just a populist, knee-jerk measure. They are trying to win an election (or minimise their losses), not create growth in the economy.

Not only is this a stupid proposal, but it also extends the idea that bankers are totally to blame for this - ignoring the real problems - too low interest rates and too loose credit suddenly tightened to very high interest rates and tight credit, coupled with the hopeless FSA who didn't enforce capital ratios during the boom and pushed them up far too high in the bust. Government was the primary cause of this crash, not the bankers - they were just doing their job in the conditions available.

And wouldn't a windfall tax on profits make bankers pay themselves higher bonuses, in order to reduce the overall profit level? I'm sure this government could come up with another stealth tax though.

John Redwood called it putting one foot on the accelerator and one foot on the brake; now the government is planning to pull up the handbrake too.

Thursday, 15 October 2009


No, no, no. Wrong on all levels.

The EU should not be mandating lessons about itself. It will turn into propaganda (as if the current content of the curriculum isn't).

MEPs complain about the "no" side campaigning about abortion and conscription into a European Army, both of those are legitimate concerns (it's a self-amending treaty after all). It's the hypocrisy that bothers me - they made it a treaty about the economy, about jobs - which were a load of rubbish.

If that's the level they put a referendum campaign on, I doubt their lessons will be much better.

I oppose the National Curriculum - schools should teach what they want to, and parents choose. Compulsory "EU" lessons....well I suppose they have to know who supports this "global warming" nonsense, and the hypocrisy of the Strasbourg-Brussels travel.

Already everything has to have a focus on this "global citizenship and sustainable development" rubbish, at least in Wales (left-lib AGW-hysteria indoctrination in other words) now. Bring the EU into it too? Please, just no.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

On the TV debates

I've seen various comments about them - "they'll only be watched by political anoraks" and the like.


The number of people who I know, who are certainly not political anoraks, many of them not even that interested in politics at all, who have said they will be watching them and that they will be good is huge.

If they are a representative sample of the general population (and my sample is sixth formers who will most likely be 18 by the general election) then they will be popular to all, not just the anoraks.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Asset sales

Gordon Brown is going to sell off £16bn worth of assets to fund borrowing.

I agree with privatisation - but only when done properly. In the 1980s Thatcher's government sold off state companies so workers could own parts; a real expansion of property rights. Now, Brown would be likely to sell them off to big business. Thatcher sold them off for ideological reasons. Brown is selling them off to fund his spending spree (no sign of it slowing down).

As well as that, would we get £32bn if we sold them off in, say, 5 years? We are at the bottom of the market (remember the gold?) and they wouldn't go for much. This also isn't a cut to plug the deficit, just to fund more spending.

I don't oppose the privatisations in principle. We don't need a state bookmaker, the state doesn't need to administer student loans, and it doesn't need to own the Channel Tunnel rail link. It also doesn't need to own the Dartford Crossing, and while they are at it, why don't they sell off the motorway network to several operators (not just the one, keep it competitive)? Will traffic use local roads? Maybe, but if they can't cope, motorways will happily take the extra traffic, and drivers will demand them if the alternatives are clogged up. Might get government to invest in roads a bit too.

Just sell them off in a few years when we're in better times, and sell them off properly, the way Thatcher did it.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Klaus' new delaying tactic

This gives me more confidence of a referendum.

Adding a footnote. Would that not change the treaty, therefore require re-ratification across all states? After renegotiation?

Cameron's speech to the conference

It was by no means his best speech, but was definitely a good one.

His attack on big government was welcome; he has shown that he believes in conservative (small-c) values of trusting people to help themselves, rather than government doing it for them. He seems to have some sort of vision, some sort of way forward. He recognises the tough choices he's going to make.

Obviously we don't have plans at this stage, because we don't know what state we'll be in next May, but they would be a welcome addition when the election comes around. Cameron will need to show that he recognises that the fundamental issue is the relationship between the individual and the state, and indeed the size of the state; it must be tackled straight away. The state plays too big a part in everyday life, and Labour have made it the solution to everything, even when it really shouldn't be.

The economy will grow on enterpreneurs' and the private sector's backs, not off the government. Government just recycles money taken from productive sectors, wasting bits of it in the process.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Ready to govern

Michael Gove's speech today showed the real talent of the Conservative Party. It was a forward-looking speech, that showed the Conservatives as ready to govern. It was a real blessing to read.

Education failure is very true in Britain, however much the government tries to inflate grades. The curriculum is dumbed down, I experience it now, I notice how past paper questions get easier the more recent they are. I noticed how much of a joke the new Science GCSE was. Will it help me at all in later life? Probably not. Across the curriculum, there's too much emphasis on the environment, and "global citizenship", whatever that's meant to mean. I notice how none of these subjects, even Economics at A Level, try to get you to develop your own opinions.

I've heard teachers say that even if we fail, they still get paid. Is that right? Clearly not. Either way, to pass, all you have to do is memorise how to answer questions, and whatever rubbish is on the syllabus (sorry, specification) this week.

I think Michael Gove hit the right notes in his speech. He has a real agenda, a real way forward; he sees the problem and is setting out how to change it. He wants to set schools free from bureaucrats - which is the right way to go about radical education reform. Teachers, and the teaching profession, know what's right, they know what works - they've been there before. Bureaucrats haven't, and neither have most government ministers.

I think there's one more thing that Gove needs to do to complete this - and that's allow new "Swedish-style" schools to make profits. That way they have a capital base to expand, to build more schools, to make them demand-responsive - that's the way it works in Sweden. If he doesn't, I don't see the take-up being as great, which will turn public opinion against it wrongly. Thatcher started the revolution in the attitude to wealth, reversing the post-war collectivist consensus; now we need to continue this - there's nothing wrong with allowing the education and health sectors to make profits, since it will allow innovation and indeed demand response - if they try to make profit rather than educate properly, parents will take their children elsewhere, simple.

But generally it's a real shining light. Gove or Balls as Education Secretary? It's not hard to decide.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Cameron and the EU, part 2

At some point, he'll have to say what he's going to do.

Avoiding the question on the basis of "the Poles and the Czechs haven't ratified yet" is missing the point, since they are going to ratify it soon, let's be totally honest. Eventually the public will get tired of hearing it, and want some principle.

However, if he doesn't want Lisbon, something to do now, as I suggested several days back, is to say he will hold an in/out referendum on EU membership if Lisbon is ratified.

Not only will that get the Eurocrats worrying (and possibly trying to stop ratification, who knows?), but it would probably be the only referendum he could hold post-Lisbon - Lisbon is self-amending so no more referendums on transfer of powers, it's not like the EU will allow a referendum on new opt-outs/transfers of power back to Westminister (or would self-amend them away anyway), and would probably give him an awful lot more support.

Free trade with Europe is the British way, political union is not. We've been independent since 1066 for a good reason - we like to be ruled by ourselves.

The SNP are deluded

The SNP might take legal action if Alex Salmond isn't allowed in the leaders' debate.

Quite clearly they do not recognise that this is a debate before a general election, between potential prime ministers (ok, perhaps Clegg won't be, but there's a technical possibility). The SNP will not be returned to power; they aren't standing in enough seats. Therefore, why would they take part in a debate? Alex Salmond won't be our next Prime Minister, he actually can't be.

Threatening to block the screening of it in Scotland if they can't take part is big government blackmail, plain and simple. We know exactly where they stand.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Lisbon Treaty and slavery?

Pathetic piece by Lib Dem Voice today, asking if those calling for a third "decider" referendum (generally as a joke) would have ever allowed slavery to be abolished, and asks if it should take 4 election wins for Cameron to gain power.

It's generally illogical - Farage (who the article attacks) was against a second referendum. Surely those of us who opposed a second referendum are the ones who would have abolished slavery, as this article goes? What was the Lib Dem's position on the second referendum?

This sort of rubbish brings the blogosphere down.

Blue Newport West?

According to PoliticsHome, it's certainly a possibility.

Having gained the city council in 2008, an MP in 2010 would be a vindication.

That said, although I disagree with Flynn on many issues, he's a good constituency MP.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

To the people of Ireland

For the sake of democracy, and for the sake of all people of Europe, please vote no tomorrow, and tell the Eurocrats no means no.

Summing up 12 years of Labour


The plan is to bar suspected wife-beaters from their homes for 2 weeks while the wife decides the next step. Note suspected. There is no proof of this, no evidence to be presented, there just has to be an accusation, and property rights are overridden.

The move is intended to close a loophole in the current law under which police can only offer immediate protection to a victim if a suspect is charged.

Also know as the presumption of innocence. That's no loophole, that's the entire basis of our judicial system.