Archive for May, 2005

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May 24, 2005

Around the blogs, again

This week (more accurately, last week; this week I have been dealing with a nasty gastric flu), I have been boring on about DDT over at Tim Worstall’s site, pontificating on economics at Econlog, and setting out the state of the charges for Gorgeous George on Doug Henwood’s mailing list (NB: since writing that, I have become aware that the Charities Commission did not need Galloway’s copy of the Mariam Appeal’s accounts because they were able to subpoena his banking records, so this charge looks rather weaker to that extent).

Not, to be honest, a vintage week for me; I was busy and beginning to get unwell. So here’s one from the archives; a month ago I was shooting the breeze with respect to ASBOs on Blood ‘n’ Treasure. I also have one (1) original piece of content for you, with respect to this from Oliver Kamm, posted here because my CT mates might not agree with it. I disagree with it in two particulars:

1) I have always found Dobbo to be an excellent constituency MP; he sorted out a parking ticket for me, he was very much involved in a number of important local planning disputes (including the proposed redvelopment of a lovely pub) and he has humoured me on a number of occasions when I saw fit to give him the benefit of my political views. I think, but cannot prove, that the difference between my experience with him and Oliver’s may have something to do with relative levels of personal charm and good humour, though I suppose that a consipracy of wretched communalist quasi-Stalinism and stupidity can’t be ruled out as an explanation.

2) Kamm says, in support of his claim that Dobbo is some kind of political idiot:

Allowing universities to charge top-up fees is highly progressive: better-off students lose fee subsidies while poor students receive grants.

Perhaps so. However, the progressive elements of the bill which was passed on January 28 of 2004 (in particular, the provisions relating to maintenance grants; also the repayment schedules and the link to post-graduation income) were not in the original proposal. They were added to the draft Bill on January 8 2004, after a compromise reached with the rebel Labour MPs (among the most prominent of which, Dobbo). In so far as that Bill was “highly progressive”, it was highly progressive because of Dobbo, not because of the Government and therefore Dobbo is right to use it as an example of the government’s “elitism”. It is absolutely vital to ensure that future historians are absolutely clear on this one; it is the most egregious case, but by no means the only one, of the proud boasts that the Blairites trot out when “reaching out to the left” which were actually forced on them in the teeth of opposition by the very people they are trying to run down for not supporting them.

I wonder when Godot will show up?

May 19, 2005

But in the meantime, watching Question Time last night, I couldn’t help but notice … for a man who is apparently entirely reliant on the communalist politics of Islamic fundamentalism, Gorgeous George certainly seems to be pretty fucking popular in Scotland?

Googlebombing is so lame …

May 18, 2005

But I swear that this is the fifth result on a search for “David Aaronovitch”. I wonder why?

“Surely you don’t want Jones back?”

While We Wait

May 17, 2005

While we wait for Decent Dave to start with his new employer, here’s a little ditty for newspaper columnists everywhere.

The Ogre does what ogres can,
Deeds quite impossible for Man,
But one prize is beyond his reach:
The Ogre cannot master speech.
About a subjugated plain,
Among its desolate and slain,
The Ogre stalks with hands on hips,
While drivel gushes from his lips.

Auden.

“Cannot master speech” is a bit wrong, but the drivel part is spot on.

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May 13, 2005

Around the blogs …

This week I have been counselling caution to the supporters of Gorgeous George (comments on this and this), talking Gini coefficients with Matthew Turner and Chris Lightfoot and discussing the Vietnam War’s Dolchstosslegende on Just One Minute (this is not the same thing as “Just A Minute” though the combination would be entertaining)

I wonder if I can be bothered doing this

May 10, 2005

Of course, Decent Dave, showman to the last, couldn’t bear to leave the stage without giving the audience one more glimpse at what they love him for (major factual errors)
And there most certainly is a leftwing case for funding the expansion of higher education through fees that are repayable on graduation into the qualified middle classes, especially when linked to a substantial package for supporting students from poorer backgrounds.
As those of us who took an interest at the time know, neither the “repayable on graduation into the qualified middle classes” element, nor the “linked to a substantial package” element, were in the Bill that Blair and Clark put before the House. Both of them were introduced as concessions to the lefty backbench awkward squad, who got called “a hollow rebellion” for their pains, motivated by “vanity” and “self-righteousness”.