Posted in March 2007

Stupid fucking Lords

The decision to only allow one super-casino was a moronic one in the first place. Subject to rules on not allowing drunkards to gamble, not providing credit, and not cheating, we should have casinos wherever anyone wants to open one.

As with drugs and alcohol, gambling causes absolutely no harm to anybody: rather, as well as providing harmless entertainment to most people, it provides an outlet for people with self-destructive tendencies to destroy themselves. The idea of stopping the latter by restricting the supply of ways to destroy oneself, although appealing to generations of nannyists, Fabians and similar idiots, is simply rubbish, for obvious reasons (should you be an idiot nannyist, the obvious reason is that we can’t fucking ban everything. If would-be addicts can’t get hold of heroin, they’ll sniff glue, which is more dangerous. If they can’t gamble they’ll beat people up for fun, or gamble in illegal dens run by crooks, which is worse).

Stopping the self-destructive from self-destruction can only be achieved at the demand end not at the supply end, as demonstrated by the miserable failure to improve life of every supply-side initiative ever (see: pub opening hours. Are any of the daft cunts who opposed the relaxation of restrictions going to put their hands up and say ‘I was an idiot, it didn’t do any harm and now I can get a drink after work if I’m stuck on a project until midnight’, or are they all too stupid to have jobs in the first place?)

Therefore, the Lords’ decision to veto the government’s casino plans is the kind of moronic crap which makes me want to support the concept of throwing the daft fuckers out onto the street, despite the obvious importance of having a second chamber to eject legislation on those (far more frequent) occasions when the government isn’t trying to make life a bit less restricted and a bit more fun.

Balance on Iran

There’s an excellent piece by Matt Frei on the contradictions at the heart of Iran (key take out: not bloodthirsty backward place ruled by mentalists, and only a fucktard would believe it was).

If you’re as sick as me of the brain-dead knee-jerk demonisation of both the country and the regime, then you’ll enjoy it. If you aren’t, that suggests you’ve got no fucking clue about what’s going on there, and so you need to read it even more.

Also, re sailors: as long as they aren’t being tortured, which they aren’t, and will be released as soon as our government has made some concessions (broadly, easing up in the whole ‘demonising them and opposing their understandable attempt to defend themselves from Israel’s nukes’ business), which they will, bothered.

Important public information announcement

I don’t know what your phone dialling code is. However, if you live in London, I certainly know what it isn’t: it isn’t 0207 or 0208.

The only [*] area code for London is 020. If you wish to dial a London number from another phone in London, you need to dial all eight digits, not just the last seven. A new phone number issued in London, no matter whether it’s inner or outer London, may have a first digit of 3, 7 or 8: availability is the only basis on which issuing is determined. And when you move house within London, you can take your old eight-digit number with you, no matter which district you move to.

This means that anyone who writes their phone number as 0207 xxx xxxx or 0208 xxx xxxx is an idiot. Should you encounter a shop with the number written like this, you should throw a petrol bomb through the window. Should you encounter a van or truck with the number written like this, you should steal it and submerge it in the Thames. And should someone present you with a business card where the number is written like this, you should shake their hand, point out that you’d never do business with such a fucking moron, and then beat them firmly but politely to death.

[*] rule-proving exception: some outer bits of Greater London, such as Uxbridge, have dialling codes that follow the small-town 01xxx structure. If I were in charge, I’d change these to 020 numbers – sadly I’m not.

Quick! To the altar!

Better hurry to Moldova now, as soon it’ll be illegal to get a UK visa for your teen mail order bride. Goddamn government, taking away all our harmless pleasures… Pervy comments aside, though, this is a morally appalling idea.

If an 18-year-old is an adult, imposing additional age-related restrictions on 18 to 21-year-olds is inherently wrong: by granting them adult status, we accept that they in a position to make their own decisions in life. Approaching it from the other angle, if 18-year-olds aren’t mature enough to decide who to marry, they certainly shouldn’t be allowed to decide who runs the government.

Escalating insanity

If you haven’t seen the Angel escalator ski stunt video, you should. It’s sheer class, and only the worst kind of humourless cunt could be anything other than impressed and amused. In incredibly surprising news, the police are the worst kind of humourless cunts.

The argument that a bystander might have been hurt is spurious bullshit: the skiier’s friend was at the bottom of the escalator stopping people from going up, reducing the risk to Very Very Low Indeed. In any case, silly stunts enrich the lives of millions: even if the occasional member of the public were to get topped when things went wrong [although I can't think of any reports of non-participants being injured in such cases - only ever the 'actors'], the net impact on society would still be positive…

Loved, chopped, whatever

Some advice lest you be unfortunate enough to be put on trial for murdering your spouse: irrespective of your guilt or innocence, it’s probably best to avoid phrases like “I loved her to bits”. They just have unfortunate associations…

Norfolk family devastated in elephant attack

Elephants clearly disapprove of incest and bigamy:

Two British tourists were killed in an attack by an elephant in Zimbabwe on Saturday, the Foreign Office has said…. A third Briton, the husband and father of the two women, was taken to hospital with serious injuries following the attack, officials said.

Perspective, and its absence

I like ranty libertarian Devil’s Kitchen. However, this may be the most inaccurate statement ever:

The EU isn’t a side issue: it is the only truly important issue in politics right now.

Now, let’s have a brief think about what happens in politics that actually fucking matters. I’m going to try and be impartial about this:

  • Crime and justice. Whether you think politicians are destroying innocent lives by not hanging and jailing enough of our out-of-control youth, or whether you think that politicians and the media are making people paranoid about paedos and cutthroats lurking everywhere despite falling overall crime, or anywhere in between, you can’t deny it’s an important determinant of quality of life.
  • Islamist terrorism, and the war on it. Whether you think that all Muslims need to be interred or they’ll rise up and slaughter us in our beds, or whether you think Tony Blair personally murders Iraqi children, or anywhere in between, you can’t deny that there are vitally important moral and politial issues to be resolved.
  • Peak oil and climate change. Whether you believe that every single climatologist has lied about man-made global warming as part of a sinister plan to destroy the global economy, or whether you believe that we all need to return to the trees more or less right away before we die (and that we’ll probably die anyway), you can’t deny that this is going to have a huge impact on all of our lives.

What about the EU, then? Just for the sake of argument, I’ll accept UKIP’s contention that the EU costs us £40bn a year, or 3% of GDP – under their own estimation, this covers everything from direct transfer payments to “over-regulation”. I’ll also accept the point that – at least among some EU lawmakers – there is a drive to establish certain things that are legal in the UK at present and should remain so (e.g. Holocaust denial) as EU-wide crimes.

So, bending over backwards to paint the most damaging picture of the EU that I can, we’ve got something which makes us 3% less rich than we should be and that might exacerbate our own government’s attempts at restricting free speech.

If you accept those premises, then the EU is a bad thing – it would be nice if everyone were 3% richer and x% freer. But it’s still fucking trivial compared with any of the issues above (and they’re just a starting point of non-EU things that, as far as I can make out, everyone cares about…)

Unforeseen dangers of content filtering

Apparently, if a scary-looking bearded chap comes into your cybercafe and starts looking at terrorist websites, then trying to make him stop isn’t the world’s safest plan…

I’m the Israeli ambassador, this is what I do

The Israeli ambassador to El Salvador makes the Bishop of Southwark look like a rank amateur in the ‘drunken career suicide’ stakes. Good work, that gimp.